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Winthrop Days
And A Half Century With The Trees

By Mary Priscilla Griffin, 1905

(original available at the Winthrop Public Library)



"Who planted this old apple-tree?"
The children of that distant day
Thus to some aged man shall say;
And, gazing on its mossy stem,
The gray-haired man shall answer them:
"A poet of the land was he,
Born in the rude but good old times;
'Tis said he made some quaint old rhymes
On planting the apple-tree."




It is not the aim of the author of these pages to write a history of Winthrop, but to detail such description to the visitor as will call attention to some of the charms of this beautiful little peninsula, some of which in recent years has suffered great changes, to speak of its noble trees, and to refer to the simple life and customs of its people, after a residence among them for fifty happy years.


Winthrop Days


Introduction and Topography

Fifty years ago a stranger could reach Winthrop by crossing Short Beach from North Chelsea, or could sail to its shores by water, or could enter an omnibus at Safford's Periodical Depot, Maverick Square, East Boston, passing through Chelsea Street and crossing the dam, skirting the westerly and south­westerly shore of Breed's Island, and crossing a bridge, would find himself on Main Street, Winthrop.

Winthrop, with its wonderous panoramic outlook, its diversified scenery of hill and dale, upland and meadow, its blossoming orchards, its gardens and cornfields and great fields of red clover, with the rollickling bobolink atilt on its tall grasses, its little body quivering with joy as it pours forth its gushing melody.

Winthrop, with its little ponds and fragrant swamps scenting the gale with sweet odors of blooming clerhra, button bush, wild rose and swamp mint, and the sylvan home of the nesting bird. Its banks of bayberry, and the boggy, sweet flag which affords the sweet calamus root so highly prized by our grandmothers. Winthrop, with its salt marshes frequented by vast flocks of wild fowl, its gravelly shores and sandy beaches and the great blue sea stretching away to the mists on the far horizon.

Oh, peaceful retreat I Thrust out far from the highway of traffic, aloof and known to few, your sons tilled their broad fields, theirs by direct inheritance from generations of ancestry. For many years children filled their hands with buttercups and daisies in the meadows, or gathered purple violets on your hillsides, or listened to the sweet notes of the singing birds, the song sparrow, the robin, or the golden oriole that swings its nest from the ends of the highest branches, or chased the gay butterflies among the white clover.

But the secret of your hiding place is no longer yours, for the summer birds sung of it, the little wavelets murmured it, and the gentle breezes wafted it, and year after year, strangers have found their way hither and made their homes on your hospitable shores and gained life and health from your salubrious climate.

It has been said by people who have visited many countries that the stretch of view from Winthrop's out-lying hills is unsurpassed. Eastern point at the entrance of Gloucester harbor, thirty miles away, can be distinctly seen and nearer, a vast extent of forest, hill, and plain, cities, towns and villages.

Boston, Queen City of the North, sits enthroned on her three hills and at her feet spreads her spacious harbor, with numerous islands and many crafts, under steam or sail, on its sparkling waters, rimmed with its receding South Shore, and the billowy Blue Hills standing like sentinels to guard the enchanting prospect.

Tall, white lighthouses stand on either hand to guide her ships from every clime into port, and beyond lies the restless, heaving ocean, whose waves on its farthest rim lap the shores of sunny Spain, while over all bends the infinite, tender sky.

"Oh, wide and splendid world I How good it is to look sometimes across great spaces, to lift one's eyes from narrowness, to feel the large silence that


rests on lonely hills," and to think of the immeasurable majesty of Nature and unspeakable goodness of God, who has spread an enjoyment so pure, so peaceful and so intense before the meanest and lowliest of His creatures.

Winthrop is situated between Boston Harbor and Lynn Bay, four miles towards the southeast from the State House, and embraces an area of nine hundred and eighty-nine square acres of land and having eight miles of sea beach, two miles of which extend from Point Shirley Gut to Fort Heath.

Although Winthrop is considered a small town, it contains as many square acres as Boston, before she tipped her high hillsinto her shallow waters.

History tells us that in 1630, Boston contained less than one thousand, and probably not more than seven hundred acres.

The topography of this town is somewhat peculiar, and a large part of it consists of four hills which slope gradually to the north and south, with long, intervening valleys and divides the town into four sections: The Highlands, Floyd Hill, Winthrop Centre and West Side, not to mention Winthrop Beach and Point Shirley. West Side and Winthrop Centre consist mostly of tableland, while the other two sections are hilly and undulating.

Cottage Hill, rising from a level, sandy plain, trends in the same direction, and once extended far out into the sea, but on its southeasterly extremity the hungry ocean beat heavily against its base and gnawed away its foundations, and the great hill gradually fell off into the sea, leaving the high barren bluff which we now see, and the shoals covered with rocks which are such a great menace to the sailor, but. were once imbeded in the clay and gravel which formerly composed the hill.

The shores of Winthrop are peculiarly beautiful because of their freedom from the coarse beach grass which usually borders the shores which are washed by the waves of the salt sea and grow in the white, yielding sand, but on Winthrop's shores, on account of the fertility of its soil, green sward and trees grow, and wild flowers bloom down almost to high water mark.

It is true we have on the strip of beach which connects Point Shirley with Cottage Hill, the coarse beach grass, which has grown much thicker of late, and helps, in this case, to prevent the sand from blowing away, and is of much benefit on this account.

In 1855 Winthrop Centre was traversed by only three streets, which formed almost a complete triangle, Main street, the base, and Winthrop street and Pleasant street, the two sides. There were also two roads, one that took the traveler over the hill to North Chelsea, and another which branched off from the North Chelsea road near the Dean Winthrop house, and was then, as now, the highway to Point Shirley. This road was much traveled by native residents, employees of the copper works, and the fine equipages that carried guests to Taft's famous hostelry at Point Shirley.

At that time seven houses fronted on Main street, live houses fronted on Pleasant street, while on Winthrop street there were twelve houses, a little church, without a steeple or bell, the village school house (having forty-eighr pupils), a Rag staff, where at times our national banner was hung to the breeze, a small grocery store, where Uncle Sam's mail was received and delivered by our present postmaster. These formed the nucleus of the Town of Winthrop.

There were two houses at Great Head, one house on Winthrop Beach, and the Dean Winthrop House on Point Shirley road. There were also two houses on the road to North Chelsea. A number of farm houses were scattered in different localities and wert approached, as in past gtnerations, by well worn cart paths.

The church, one of the two public buildings, was a neat structure and was built upon the highest point of land at the centre. Its exterior was painted a light slate color with green blinds to its windows, of which there were eight-six large ones, containing twenty-four pal1es of glass each, and two smaller windows, which lighted the gallery.

Two doors gave access to the interior and were supplied tach with a granite step. Its dimensions were 30X34 feet, and of "convenient htight" -- so say the old records. There was a high pulpit, square at the corners and circular in the centre, stained a dark cherry color, and upholstered in crimson red, and the base of the pulpit was "marbled" with black, white and gray paint. Two Rights of winding stairs led into the pulpit from the altar. At the opposite end of this edifice there was a little gallery for the choir.


There were twenty-four pews, two rows with six in a row, which occupied the centre, and twelve more built next to the walls, and separated from the central pews by two aisles. The walls were of white plaster, and there was no paint on any part of the interior, except about the pulpit. No shades to the windows, no cushions to the pews, and no carpet on the floor.

Old church of 1834

Its furniture consisted of two chairs and a table inside the altar rail and a huge box stove in a recess under the gallery, in which long sticks of wood was burnt to furnish heat. This church edifice, although so rigorous in appearance, compared favorably with other Methodist churches of its time, when nothing ornamental was encouraged, either personal or otherwise, and it was a serious question with a young girl whether she might wear a ribbon.

Although the edifice was simple, the worshipers were sincere and reverent as they listened to the Word of Life from the lips of holy men, and partook of the sacrament on their knees at the altar. They are not here now. They have risen to immortal life in realms of endless day.

The musical portion of the Sabbath Day services was far superior to that of most country churches, for many of the people of Chelsea Point had voices whose tones were rich and sweet in quality, and they all delighted in music. Most of the members of the choir were near relatives, and the timbre of their voices swelled in a melodious harmony, and accompanied by wind and stringed instruments, the violin, bass viol and clarionet or flute, they rendered the sacred music with inspiriting effect, and the listener forgot the narrow walls and the simple surroundings. Most of them have now joined the "Choir Invisible."

The school house, which was built on the land where the Town Hall now stands, was a neat looking building, painted white, and had three windows 011 opposite sides to admit the light, but like the church, the interior was unpainted and the rude benches and desks, like all district school houses of th at period, gave abundant evidence of being on intimate terms with the boy with the jack knife.

Elm trees were growing in the school yard, one of which is now to be seen on the town house grounds. Elm trees were also planted near the church, one of which now stands at the corner of Winthrop street and Madison avenue,

The two granite doorsteps of the church form a part of the granite foundation of a fence next to Masonic Hall, and may be easily detected by their size and shape and by being the only stones that are hammered. The church now forms a part of Dunham's block, which occupies' the site upon which the church edifice was erected in 1834.

At this time in the history of our town, its inhabitants for the most part were related to each other by birth or marriage. There was then no resident minister, doctor, lawyer or educator, and we think no mechanical trade was represented but that of carpenter.

The sick were generally cared for by friends and neighbors, and loving hands prepared "The low green tent, whose curtain never outward swings"


in our quiet God's Acre, The climate was healthful and people were seldom sick. There were few if any poor people, and every house seemed to be the horne of thrift, comfort and content.

In summer the young people enjoyed boating, fishing, swimming, picnic parties to Weir River, to Nahant, to Squantum, or to some island in the harbor, or to some inland town like Saugus, Stoneham, or perhaps to a grove at Breed's Island or Oak Island. In the winter a social party was often given, a Lyceum was held weekly in the little school house, and a singing-school. There was both a reading circle and the sewing circle, which met from house to house. There was the social evening, where friends met to talk of their crops and test the quality of the last new variety of apple, and to consult about the business affairs of the newly incorporated town. On Sabbath evenings there was the prayer meeting in the little church.

Fifty years ago the moon shone as brightly as now, the stars studded the sky as thickly, flowers bloomed and shed their fragrallce as freely, birds sing their sweet songs as blithely, and the sunset as patiently varied its pictures from night fall to nightfall.



Winthrop was once an island, and now is only connected with the mainland by a narrow strip composed of stones, gravel and sand, thrown up by the action of the sea, and known by the name of Short Beach. Its soil is composed mostly of loam and gravel, and is well adapted to the culture of both fruit and forest trees. Fifty years ago there were about two-and-one-quarter score of houses here, and almost everyone could boast of its adjacent orchard of thrifty fruit trees, there being by actual count forty-two orchards, comprising the very best varieties of apples, pears; peaches, plums, cherries and many of the smaller kinds of fruit-but chiefly apple-trees.

Old records tell us that the first apple-trees raised in this country grew on Governor's Island in Boston harbor, from which on the 10th of October, 1639, ten fair pippins were brought up to the town of Boston. The words of the old record are, "There being not one apple or pear tree planted in any part of the country but upon this island." The island belonged to Gov. John Winthrop, the first governor of the colony of Massachusetts Bay, and "for which he should pay two bushels of apples a year, one for the governor and one for the General Court.*"

* Some historians have given William Blackstone the credit of raising the first apples on the west slope of Beacon Hill.

At that time Governor Winthrop and his son Deane owned many scores of acres of land in this town, then called Pulling Poynte, and it is reasonable to suppose that some of the early orchards received scions from Governor's Island. It is said that Governor Winthrop's son Deane could pass from Great Head, now called Cottage Hill, to North Chelsea short beach without stepping off his own land.

The Baldwin apple is regarded as the best of the New England apples, on the whole, and originated in the town of Wilmington more than one hundred years ago, and was named for Hon. Lorammi Baldwin, who laid out the old Middlesex Canal from Lowell to Boston. Hubbardston nonsuch originated in the town of Hubbardston, Mass. The Porter was first raised by Rev. S. Porter of Sherburne, Mass. The Williams originated on the farm of Major. Benjamin Williams of Roxbury, Mass. All of these favorites were accidental, not the product of any attempt to create new varieties.

The red astrachan was imported into England from Sweden in 1816, and from there imported into this country. The pound sweeting, sometimes called the pumpkin sweet, was raised first in Manchester, Conn.

In Winthrop at the present time, beginning at Chester avenue on the easterlyside of Winthrop street, there runs a succession of orchards to Ocean View street and beyond, a distance of about five-eighths of a mile, with only two or three breaks in its contiguity.


Elm Growing Near Site of Old Church. Masonic Hall in Background.


These fruit trees were set out by descendants of Joseph and Samuel Belcher. The lower end of Buchanan street was built through an orchard. of fruit trees, which were set out by Mr. Joseph Belcher in the year 1813, and six of them are still in bearing order. One, a stately old russet, now thrusts its branches over the sidewalk at the head of Putnam street. Near the old apple tree, and on an adjacent terrace stands a fine specimen of the ailanthus, or Tree of Heaven, on the estate of the late Capt. G. C. Parker.

Mr. Joseph Belcher and Mr. Samuel Belcher were brothers and natives of Winthrop. Mr. Joseph Belcher was the father of ten children -- eight sons and two daughters. Six of his sons married and settled in Winthrop, and were, David, James M., Thomas J., William B., John and Warren,

Mr. Samuel Belcher was also the father of ten children seven sons and three daughters. His sons were Geo. G., Samuel, Frank N., Fred W., John W., Wilbur F. and Cyrus J. These likewise married and settled in Winthrop, which accounts for the frequent occurrence of the name of Belcher in Winthrop. Their ancestor, Jeremiah Belcher, was here as early as 1687, when he hired Hog Island, now Orient Heights, of Judge Samuel Sewall.

Winthrop, like many other islands of Boston harbor, was once heavily wooded with forest trees, as is witnessed by the immense stumps which have lately been removed from Ingleside Park.

These trees were killed many generations ago by the salt sea flooding their roots. Nathaniel Morton, secretary to Governor Bradford, second Governor of Plymouth Plantation, describes a fearful storm that visited the eastern shore of Massachusetts.

He says, "On the 15th day of August, 1635, there was a mighty storm of wind and rain, as none then living had seen It came with great violence in the beginning. It caused the sea to swell as that it arose twenty feet right up and down, and made many Indians climb into trees for safety. It blew down many hundreds of thousands of trees, turning up the stronger by the roots and breaking high pine trees and such like in the midst; and tall, young oaks and walnut trees of good bigness were wound as withes by it. It continued not in extremity above five or six hours, and the marks of it will remain this many years in those parts where it is forest."

Fifty years ago and less, there were many large forest trees on the lowland that borders Putnam street, and was called "High Tree Swamp." Here many beautiful maple trees hung out their glowing banners each returning autumn. Near what is now River Road there once stood a large clump willow trees which formed a Favorite trysting place for lads and lassies.

On Winthrop beach was another small collection of natural growth are called "The Cedars," and in hiding among the thick branches foxes have sheltered themselves which had come from Saugus or Malden woods; also white and gray owls found a resting place during the daylight.

On the side of the hill near Locust street grew aromatic trees, called Sassafras, the roots and bark of which was greatly prized in England on account of its medicinal properties. In the early settlement of the country a part of the cargo of vessels returning to England was composed of sassafras. In fact it formed part of the cargo of the little bark, Concord, in which Gosnold made his voyage to America in 1602. Every part of the tree has a pleasant fragarance and a sweetish, aromatic taste. These qualities depend on an essential oil which may be obtained by distillation. Some of these trees are still growing near Locust street,

In passing through our town one sees many wild cherry trees. The trees sometimes grow to a height of eighty feet in some localities, and its wood is extensively used in cabinet making. A lady now living on Atlantic street has in her possession an article of furniture called a highboy, made from wild cherry wood that grew on Winthrop Highlands.

Of all the forest trees which grow here the willow seems to be the most important, that is, it was the most useful to the people. Many now living here well remember the farm house that stood in a field near Winthrop street. It was the happy and hospitable home of Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Belcher and their ten sons and daughters.

Not far from the door there grew a lone willow. In its high branches many fowls found a comfortable roosting place during the hot summer nights. Beneath its grateful shade stood the old grindstone, where the mower ground his scythe, and in the fall the village butcher hung great carcasses on its sturdy limbs to be cut up and salted down for family use later on. And though the


house was removed from the spot long years ago, the lone willow still stands on Belcher street.

Near the water and close by the old farm house, which now stands with its back door on Washington avenue, there once grew a fine large willow, among several lesser ones, which was made very attractive to the young people by reason of a swing, composed of heavy iron chains and made comfortable to the occupant by a convenient seat made of wood.

This swing remained there summer and winter for many years, and was a favorite resort for the young people of the village on pleasant summer evenings.

In July, 1847, Judge Edward G. Loring, afterward Chief Justice of the Court of Claims at Washington, and Hon. George B. Emerson, a noted educator and author, bought of Mr. Samuel Tewksbury forty-eight acres of land which is the exact size of Boston Common. Mr. Emerson caused more

Geo. B. Emerson House

than fifteen hundred trees to be set out on his land, most of which he imported from the north of Europe. He further ernbelished his grounds with many rare shrubs and flowers.

On this territory there were seven large native willows, in one of which, near the water, he caused seats to be made and a flight of steps built by which to ascend into its wide spreading branches. This tree was so large that the seats would accommodate eight people at the same time.

Mr. Emerson named this tree the "Love Making Tree" because his daughter, Miss Lucy Emerson, and the late Judge John Lowell of Boston, the gentleman whom she afterward married, did their courting among its branches. This land now comprises Court Park, and the Love Making Tree is yet standing near the water as of yore.

Mr. Emerson planted on his grounds a fine tree and one of the most remarkable of the American forest, a tulip tree. It has smooth, large green leaves and in May and June it puts forth flowers from four to six inches in diameter, greenish yellow outside and orange within.

It is a well known fact that the Emerson School in East Boston was named in honor of the Hon. George Barrell Emerson. One graduation day he carried a basket full of the flowers of this tulip tree and presented a blossom to each young lady of the graduating class. Many of these young ladies had the flowers pressed and retained them for years in loving memory of the day and the rare coutliness of the donor.

Mr. Emerson planted another tree which was visited and much admired in blossom time, a double flowering cherry tree, where among its pure, snowy blooms butterflies, honey bees, and humming birds lingered to sip its sweet nectar.

The double flowering cherry tree was destroyed when the street near the water was made In the Autumn of 1904 a gingko tree was planted, by the Village Improvement Committee, on the Frost Memorial Library grounds, and dedicated to the Hon. George B. Emerson.

He was a summer resident in Winthrop over thirty years. He was born in Wells, Me., in 1797, graduated at Harvard College in 1817, and was tutor in mathematics there from 1819 to 1821. He was the first principal of the High School in Boston, established for boys in 1821, and was a most successful and accomplished teacher.

He afterward was principal of a private school which he established in Boston for young ladies. He had the oversight of all the Normal Schools of


Massachusetts (except the very last one founded), at Bridgewater, at Framingham, at Westfield and Salem, and was associated with Horace Mann, Secretary of the Board of Education.

He was also president of the Society of Natural History and a trustee of the Arnold Arboretum. "In losing Mr. Emerson, Boston lost one of its best citizens. He had many claims on its gratitude in addition to the encouragement to the love of Nature." In 1846 he issued an admirable Report for the State on the Trees and Shrubs of Massachusetts, and in 1875 he published a new edition illustrated with colored plates.

The three large trees which stand on the sidewalk near the People's Drug Store on Winthrop street were imported from the north of Europe by Mr. Emerson. They are a sycamore, a linden and an English elm. Mr. Emerson was much interested in beautifying this town with trees and flowers, and one year he gave a man ten dollars to plant flowers on the grounds in front of the Town Hall. He was especially interested in our schools, and so great was his desire that the boys and girls should enjoy the advantages of a High School education that he issued a pamphlet and circulated it through the town, urging the people to establish a High School, and in the year 1882, through the efforts of Mrs. Judith C. Tewksbury, then a member of the school committee, and Mr. Frost, the teacher of the Grammer School, with the concurrence of the other two members of the school committee, who were Mr. Warren Belcher and Mr. E. S. Read, the Winthrop High School was established, with Rev. Leonard P. Frost, a teacher of long experience and marked success, as principal.

Mr. Emerson did not live to witness the gratification of his wishes, for he died in 1881.

Other places beside Winthrop shared the benefit of :his interest in horticulture. In 1877 he secured land on Nantucket and caused thirty thousand larch and fir trees, obtained from the north of Europe, to be planted there. They are large trees, and now one of the favorite drives for the people of Nantucket is out to the "Larches." He also planted the grove of fragrant-scented pines in Court Park.

Mr. James Arnold, a wealthy gentleman of New Bedford, and Hon. Geo. B. Emerson married sisters, Mr. Arnold was much interestd in horticulture, and years ago had fine gardtns open to the public, in which was a grotto made of shells, Through Mr. Emerson's influence he gave the money to Harvard College for the Arnold Arboretum, where are now growing over two thousand five hundred species of trees and plants.

In the year 1850 Mr. Hiram Plummer, a man who had owned and operared a line of stage coaches between Haverhill and Boston, and with his son-in­law, Mr. C. L. Bartlett, a Boston merchant, purchased many acres of land of Mr. Joseph Burrill, and on a commanding eminence built a mansion, which at that time was one of the finest in this part of the country.

They planted hundreds of choice forest and fruit trees. They stocked their green houses with the choicest imported grape vines, and rare Hewers and shrubs were cultivated by expert gardeners.

Through their enterprise and foresight, we of today, enjoy the long lines of grand and graceful elms that now arch Pleasant street and Bartlett road.

In 1861 Mr. Moses Ingalls, having spent many years doing business in Boston, determined to retire and spend his declining years in Winthrop. Attracted by its commanding situation, where was an extensive view both inland and seaward, he purchased property, which was once a part of the Samuel Floyd estate, containing four and one half acres of land. He erected an elegant dwelling house, and a landscape gardener laid out broad avenues through his grounds.

During the stirring times of the Civil War, when the white tents of the soldiers were spread on the green hills of Long Island, when the glistening guns of the drilling regiment flashed in the westering sunlight, and to the tar came over the water the distant music of military bands and the heavy boom of guns from Navy Yard, Fort and Castle, the noble trees that now surround Beacon Villa were planted.

Mr. Ingalls was a resident of many years, and took much quiet interest in the welfare of the town. He was one of the founders of the Baptist Church, and was one of its three first deacons, and held the office at the time of his decease.


Beacon Villa


The question was once asked, through the columns of a local paper, if any one could tell when and by whom the large maple trees, now growing on Buchanan street, were planted. They were obtained in Saugus woods and transplanted into that spot in the month of May, 1865, by Mr. James M. Belcher, who then owned the abutting land, which was his pear orchard.

There was a little girl, five years old, who lived nearby, giving her doll an airing on the street. He called her to come to him, and said, "Sis, you have a straight eye, and I want you to hold this little tree up straight while I plant it."

So she grasped the slender trunk in her little hand, while he spread out the roots and pressed the loam about them until the small tree could stand by itself, Thus they proceeded until the whole row was planted. There were more planted than are seen now, for many had to be removed to make room to let the others grow. When finally they were all set out, Mr. Belcher said to the child, "Never forget that you helped to plant these trees." The child grew to womanhood, and today resides on Pleasant street.

Next to the three white maple trees, and opposite the estate of Lawyer Charles Partee, stands a row of tall elms which were planted about the same time by Mr. William B. Belcher, who then owned the estate. He also planted the orchard on the abutting land.

On the next estate, and above the stone wall, one tall elm and two linden trees, as well as the little orchard, were planted by Mr. S. H. Griffin in the Spring of 1858, and in the same year the apple trees on the opposite side of the street, where then resided Capt. Joshua Atkins, were planted by Mr. Thomas J. Belcher. The large maple trees in the meadow on the northerly side of the street grew from seeds gathered on Boston Common, and planted by Mr. Henry H. Fay, who then owned the land, but which now belongs to the railroad company.

On Winthrop street, ascending from Buchanan street in a sourherly direction, the white maple trees were planted by Mr. James M. Belcher; and after passing the elm trees, opposite the grounds around Beacon Villa, which were planted by Mr. Ingalls, the large white maple and other species of trees, beginning at a point on Winthrop street and planted around the corner where Winthrop street joins Pleasant street to an opposite point on Pleasant street, were all set out by Mr. Sylvanus Payne in May, 1865. Mr. Payne also planted the beautiful linden on his grounds and an apple orchard.

Mr. Ingalls planted the large trees growing opposite the grounds of Villa on Pleasant street.

In the spring of 1866 the white maples planted around the junction of Pleasaant street and Buchanan street were set out by Mr. J. M. Belcher for Captain Zenas Treworgy. When the tunnel was built under Pleasant street, where the train passes under the street, the grade was raised so that the trunks of these trees were buried several feet under ground.


TREES (Continued).

A long line of Balm-of-Gilead trees once grew at Sunnyside on the estate of Dr. Geo. S. Carter, afterwards the property of Mrs. A. C. Thompson, and now the property of Dr. Sproule, which cast a cool shade, and with other trees formed a little grove where picnic parties found a pleasant retreat and enjoyed the refreshing breezes from across the water.

People from other towns found the lovely spot, and in the summer of 1857 or 1858 the Universalist Society of Chelsea held a church picnic there, and many of the well known people of Chelsea were present; among them was the Hon. Mellen Chamberlain.

On Winthrop street there were large trees of this variety on the property of Mr. W. B. Belcher, and others planted at the easterly end of Mr. James M. Belcher's orchard to break the east wind from his apple-trees.

Mr. James M. Belcher's homestead consisted of one acre of land, which


Bartlett Road


now comprises the whole of the house lots and driveway on James avenue, where his house also stood, and he owned the land opposite where was his pear orchard, which afterwards was purchased by Mr. Newcomb. Mr. Belcher's house and grounds was a model of beauty, thrift and hospitality, and when the house was removed with its grape arbors and its trellises, and the large and beautiful trees were cut down, the sweet, old-fashioned garden, bordered with box, its long row of southernwood, the lilac-flowered honesty, with its

James M. Belcher's House

silvery seed vessels, the garden heliotrope, mountain myrtle, old fashioned clove pinks, its roses and white lilies "tall and fair," and a host of other plants, were destroyed, we knew the Master and Mistress were away, and the hands that had planted and reared them so tenderly were forever folded, for the Reaper had come and ushered them" through the low doorway into that other chamber of the King larger than this and lovlier."

The large house on the corner of Buchanan street, now owned and occupied by Mr. Nelson Floyd, was built in 1854 and the large trees on its grounds were planted in the late fifties by Mr. Richard Shackford, who then owned the estate. On the west side of Winthrop street stands a house owned by Mr. Fred H. Seavey, High Sheriff for Suffolk County, Rev. J. W. Dadmun built the house in 1868 and planted the brge trees, or most of them.

The large larches and the fine linden on the estate of Mr. M. Austin Belcher were planted more than fifty years ago by his father, Mr. Thomas J. Belcher.

Many people then living in this town owned tracts of woodland in Saugus woods where they often went to obtain firewood, and many young trees have been transplanted from Saugus woods to grow in Winthrop streets.

It is just sixty-five years ago this very spring (1905), when a young man who lived in that part of North Chelsea, now known as Winthrop, said to his younger brother, a lad of fifteen years, "I am going to father's wood lot in Saugus. Would you like to ride up there with me!" The boy assented readily enough, for the thought of a visit to the sweet-smelling woods in the early springtime was alluring, and away they went together on the fair spring morning, taking their lunch with them, in the farm wagon, for it would mean an all day outing, and the keen, bracing air would give them an appetite.

While in the wood the lad saw some gracful young elm trees, not too large to transplant, and the idea occurred to him that he would take them home and set them out on a lot of land which his father had lately given him. These young elms had grown from seed scattered by the wind seven or eight years before, and by the time his brother was ready to leave for home the young trees were loaded on the wagon, and so were taken out of the wood that had so carefully shielded them while young and render, and were brought down to rear their huge trunks and stately limbs by the sea.

The lad grew to manhood and built him a house nearby, and now at the age of four score years he, with the wife of his youth, welcomes their children, grandchildren and great grandchildren to the paternal home in the deep shade of these magestic trees, which, of all the elms in Winthrop, are said to be the next in size to the great elm near Thornton Station.


They are growing on the estate of Mr. Warren Belcher, for he it is who planted them in 1840. One of them measures ten and one-half feet in circumference and three and one-half feet in diameter. Mr. Warren Belcher also planted the elms in whose branches the birds trill sweet songs in springtime, and the west wind sighs and softly stirs the leaves at eventide, in the consecrated groond, where rests those "which we have loved long since and lost awhile."

A very stately elm raises its tall shaft and spreads its broad, green crown on the estate of Mr. W. H. Ruttle, just off Bowdoin street. This shapely tree sprung from a wind-sown seed in the year 1810. It is now ten feet in circumference four feet from the ground. It was transplanted to the spot where it now grows by Capt. Geo. W. Tewksbury, who then owned the land, and is now ninety-five years old.

There are many fine elms growing on the southerly side of Revere street which were planted by Deacon David Floyd, assisted by his oldest son, Mr. Lucius Floyd, then a mere lad. Deacon Floyd also planted the apple orchard in front of the Deane Winthrop House.

On Fremont street four tall elm trees wave their branches high above the rooftree of Elmwood Villa, the home of the venerable Rev. Howard C. Dunham, who celebrated his ninety-third birthday on Jan. 19, 1905. Mr. Dunham planted these trees on his return from the Civil War in 1865, where he was engaged in the work of the Peace Commission.

A fine elm of large size and graceful form spreads its green canopy on the estate of Mr. E. B. Newton on Waldemar avenue.

We have all seen the great American elm standing near Thornton Station and have noticed how its great roots spring from its huge trunk above the ground, reminding us of Miss Gould's poem on "The Veteran Elm of Newbury." She writes:

"You saw how its roots had grasped the ground,
As if it had felt the earth went round,
And fastened them down with determined will
To keep it steady and hold it still."

Capt. Lorenzo C. Tewksbury, who was born and lived beneath its shade over eighty years ago, says it looked exactly the same when he first saw it as it looks today. It is said the elm takes two hundred years to obtain its full size, and remains the same size two hundred years, and is two hundred years in dying. So we may infer, if this is a fact, that this elm is three hundred years old.

It is now sometimes called the Gibbon's elm from the fact that it stands on a grant of land made to Edward Gibbons in 1636-37, who was the first white man to own the land.*

How well do we remember the dark, weather-stained house that stood, nearly a half-century ago, almost under the great elm, with the old well sweep near the door and the old-time flower garden, with its tall bushes of white roses, its huge clumps of rich crimson peonies, and the golden daffodils; its roots of hoarhound, catnip and the rioting, aromatic gil-over-the-ground with its small purple-blue flowers; its current bushes and its apple-trees! The old house was the farm house of Edward Gibbons, built about 1640 and demolished in 1860, "and was probably the first dwelling of any pretensions erected in Winthrop."

In the fall of 1842, or there about, during a heavy gale of wind, one of the largest branches of this great tree was broken down so that the ends of the smaller branches lay on the ground. Two tackles and blocks were procured from a nearby vessel, and the limb was quickly hauled into place and encircled by an iron chain; it was held fast in position to the trunk of the tree.

The wound healed in time, but the chain was never removed. The bark incased the chain, and the tree bulges out at the point where the limbs first spring from the trunkand may easily be detected. This elm measures "fourteen and one-half feet in circumference and four feet 10 inches in diameter.

Another elm, a sister tree and a rival in size, shape and beauty, reared its stately form and cast its deep shade over another home, the old "Parliament House," which once stood on what now is called Sunnyside avenue. This great tree was five feet in diameter four feet above the ground.

A heavy southwesterly wind that uprooted many large trees on Sept. 12, 1869, broke off a very large part of this tree, which destroyed its perfect symetry,

* Attention Is called to a fine picture of the tree on the front cover.


and nineteen years afterward it was felled by the axe in the summer of 1888.

In the year of 1730, when Jonathan Belcher was appointed Governor of Masssachusetts, this elm was brought by his namesake, then eighteen years old, from Oak Island and planted on the southeasterly side of his home, near the old cart path that led to the beach.

When Sunnyside avenue was surveyed and built, this giant among trees was found to be in the way, and was removed. A photograph of this large tree may be seen in the show case at the Frost Memorial Library.

In 1854 Mr. Joseph Belcher's farm house stood just to the south of the great elm where then resided his son, Mr. John Belcher, who held In office in the Boston Custom House. He was a prominent citizen and he planted many trees to beautify his native town. This house was burned down many years ago.

Standing at the Centre Station and looking towards Buchanan street across the grassy park, with its lovely shrubbery and graceful white birch and thrifty willow, memory recalls the time, when, not so very long ago, a gravelly hill occupied the spot, and a tall, red cedar shot up from its summit and was a landmark for miles around.

It was known to the old residents as Snake Hill; and on sunny, spring days many years ago, the Belcher boys, sons of Mr. Joseph Belcher who then lived at Sunnyside near the water, used to stop there on their way from school to despatch the snakes as they crawled out of the surrounding swamps to sun themselves on the warm hillside.

In 1854 Mr. George Turnbull bought a pan of the hill near Pleasant street and erected a house. On this part of the hill there was a bowlder, having holes deep enough for pounding maize, which the Indians used for this purpose. This bowlder was opposite the residence of Mr. C. C. Hutchinson, and was removed to the junction of Pauline and Pleasant streets, where it now rests.

On this part of the hill there was a deep circular hollow. Mr. Turnbull terraced the interior of this amphitheatre and planted fruit trees and vines on the terraces, and stocked the pond at the bottom with goldfish. This hill seemed to have been a favorite spot for the Red Man, for near the bowlder where he pounded his maize great collections of clam shells were found just below the surface of the soil, when Pleasant street was built.

Mr. Turnbull planted forest trees to shade the avenue leading to his house as well as rare shrubs and flowering plants, and from his home he enjoyed a broad view of Boston Harbor.

In April, 1851, there was a terrific storm along the New England coast, which lasted three days, and is well remembered as the storm that demolished the lighthouse on Minot's Ledge, when the two keepers perished.

On April 17 the tide arose to an almost unprecedented height, and the thunderous waves, lashed to fury by the northeast gale, swept across the length of Winthrop Beach. Near the centre of the beach there stood a single dwelling house, occupied by Mr. Henry H. Fay, with his wife and little daughter. People saw their peril in the midst of the waves, and went to their rescue. They were taken out through the windows, and carried through the seething waters in the blinding spindrift to the residence of Deacon David Floyd, who then occupied the Deane Winthrop House, the old house that has firmly withstood the storms of ten generations, having been built in the latter part of the reign of the unfortunate King Charles I., who was followed in turn by The Protector, Oliver Cromwell, King Charles 1 I., King James I I., King George I., King George 11., King George III., during one hundred and twenty-seven years, previous to the beginning of the War of the Revolution, and has also existed during the administration of twenty-five presidents of these United States, "and has gathered to itself a store of history and tradition, and its rooms are shadowy with the forms of bygone centuries."

After the storm ceased and the sea subsided, Mr. Fay and family returned to their home on the beach, but afterward, whenever a hard northeast storm raged, they remembered their frightful experience of '51, and finally moved to the centre; and about 1860 they bought land on Snake Hill, also the adjacent meadow near Buchanan street, and built a house on the hill.

Mr. Fay terraced the side of the hill and planted a variety of fruit trees, and planted the low land with grape vines, strawberry plants, current and blackberry bushes, and raised fruit for Boston market.


In August, 1851, Mr. John Putnam removed to Winthrop and bought a lot ef land, and erected a cottage on the most gravelly part of Snake Hill; but by filling in loam and using fertilizers he soon had a garden and a fine shade, by planting the quickly growing poplar, known as the Balm-of-Gilead tree, whose resinous, aromatic buds, when steeped in spirits, were held in high esteem for hathing purposes and to relieve pain, and was a common remedy in every old-time family.

When the railroad was built its projectors saw the advantage it would be to them to own the hill, and they soon negotiated for, and purchased it. They removed the houses to the low land, and utilized the gravel and sand to fill in the surrounding swamps and ponds, and now portions of Snake Hill form a part of the road bed almost any where from East Boston to Lynn and Winthrop.

On Winthrop street, two purple birches are growing on the lawn of Dr. H. J, Soule, planted by Mr. Dallas W. Belcher, about 1889, and the horsechustnut on the estate of Mr. W. A. Aiken was planted twenty-nine years ago by Mr. Francis Holmes, a former owner of the property.

The sycamore, on the opposite side of the street, grew from self-sown seed thirty years ago. The tall cherry tree near the old well was a seedling which sprouted up from the ground in the spring of 1876, on the estate of Mr. S. H. Griffin, and the old sweet apple-tree, in the corner, is a part of the Ebenezer Burrill orchard, which may be seen on the easterly side of Fremont street, and on the hill above it stands the old Burrill farm house, where was brought the first coal stove ever used in the little hamlet.

The Ebenezer Burrill house is now standing on its original site in the real of Wadsworth Building. The Wadsworth Building was the first brick edifice ever built in Winthrop, and was erected by Mr. P. Briggs Wadsworth in the year 1896 on Winthrop street. The Lewis Block, at Winthrop Beach, was built the following year:


Trees (Continued).

In 1881 John S. Day and Mr. Warren Belcher were members of the School Committee, and they planted near the pond and bordered the easterly avenue of the school grounds with about fifty thrifty young maple trees, which now add very much to the beauty of the centre of the town.

There have been many additions of a variety of forest trees, both deciduous and conifers, during the last nine years. A handsome hedge separates the school grounds from the street; unique posts stand at the entrance of the main avenues, made of cobblestones and cement; two oak trees have been planted; a line of willows edge the gnfunds near the railroad track, and valuable shrubs are growing in various localities, and with beautiful rose bushes, annuals and perennials, in beds, the place makes a fine show during the summer.

To the personal efforts of Mr. Edward B. Newton, who has ever taken an active interest in whatever would benefit the community, and has devised and executed many plans for the adornment of these public grounds, belongs the credit of their improved appearance.

Mr. Newton has been a prominent citizen of Winthrop nearly twenty years and is now serving on the School Committee for the fourth consecutive term, each termconsisting of three years; and he especially deserves the gratitude of every citizen for his efforts to embellish and make attractive this barren and gravelly hillside.

The children of the public schools have honored Arbor Day for eight or nine years by planting trees on the sidewalk of Pauline street, near the school grounds. The Winthrop Improvement Association has added many ornamental trees to those already growing there.

The pond, now edged with concrete, which dries away in summer, is full of water in winter and spring; and many years ago Rev. Leonard Frost lost a horse by drowning in it.

The line that divided the land of Mr. John Sargtnt Tewksbury from the land of Mr. Samuel Belcher run through this pond, which furnished a watering


place for their cattle. When Hermon street was built, a tunnel was made for Mr. Belcher's cattle to go through under the street, and the ice was cut in the ond every day in winter for his oxen and cows to abrain water.

This pond was once stocked with goldfish, which lived through several years, and were caught in nets by people who wanted them for ornamental purpose, but one very cold winter they all perished.

Standing, in a little dell at the junction of Fremont and Pauline: streets, there are two specimens of the buttonwood tree, The buttonwood or plant tree is a native of the United States, and in some localities is by far the largest (though not the loftiest) tree of the American forest. On the margin of the great rivers of the West trees of this variety are found, whose trunks measure from forty to fifty [eet in circumference, and are more than thirteen feet in diameter. It grows in any soil, but flourishes best on the borders of a stream.

Its leaves are: very large and are covered with a whitish down beneath when young. Its flowers are in balls and hang upon the tree on long pedicels most of the winter.

The bark is yearly detached from the trunk, leaving a white surface beneath. The wood is hard and is used for windlasses, wheels and blocks.

These two trees in the little dell, with a third of the same species on the school grounds, were set there by Mr. John Sargent Tewksbury in 1793; one hundred and twelve years ago. He also planted the two Lombardy poplars, now growing on the school grounds, at about the same time.

The Lombardy poplar is a native in Italy, as its name imports. It was early brought to this country and has been planted about many a dwelling and village street. Its rapid growth made it a favorite in former years. The first nursery of any considerable note in New England was begun in Newton by John Kenrick, in 1790, by planting peach stones and raising peach trees, to which in a few years he added apple, pear and cherry trees, also other varierties of fruit trees. In 1797 he began a nursery of ornamental trees, two acres of which were planted with Lombardy poplar, then a most esteemed, but now a despised tree. It was found that huge worms infested it which rendered it very undesirable.

Passing along from the two buttonwood trees on Fremont street, we come to a house first owned by Rev. J. S. Day, who planted the fruit orchard in its rear, which extends down the hill towards the Centre Station, in the early sixties; and in the meadow he raised fine strawberries for market.

Nearby, in the: early spring of 1856, the: residence of the late Capt. Joseph Ingalls was built by the popular builder, Mr. Geo. S. Shaw, and is now the home of his widow, Mrs. Sarah Ingalls, who celebrated the one hundred and third anniversary of her birth on June 20,1905, and is Winthrop's oldest inhabitant.

She still enjoys the: trees about her dwelling, which were planted by her husband years agone, and kind friends supply her with beautiful flowers, which she so much admires, and which it is such a pleasure to rhern to bestow, as she can no longer cultivate them for herself, as in former years it was her great delight to do.

The land near the easterly end of Pauline and the northerly end of Fremont streets, as well as the ground belonging to the high and grammer schools, were a part of the estate of Mr. John Sargent Tewksbury, and used by him as grazing ground for his cattle; and the trees were planted in various localities to furnish shade in hot, sunny weather or to shelter them in a storm.

The old farm house, near Johnson avenue, was the home of John Sargent Tewksbury. The house his father lived in was nearby, but was removed more than fifty years ago.

The orchard, which is fast being removed, was said to be the oldest orchard in Winthrop. The part of Pauline street west of the land now owned by the Town was built through land belonging to Mr. Samuel Tewksbury's estate, and was inherited from him by Mrs. Augusta Pauline Ingalls; and the street bears her name.

Previous to 1881, when the Pauline street school house was built, the ground between that building and Pauline street was known asthe "Base Ball Ground." Here many a hard fought game was lost and won, while cheering crowds sheltered themselves beneath the great willow tree a generation ago, and which is now encircled by a wooden seat. The most of the land whereon the Town House stands was given the town by John Sargent Tewksbury.


Pauline Street School
High School


A willow tree that formerly grew on his land may still be seen on the estate of Mr. S. Ernest Griffin, in the rear of his house. The willow it is said averages one foot in girth every ten years of growth.

The maple trees on the corner of Sargent street and on Pleasant street, opposite the estate of Mr. David White, were planted by Mr. White; and those on and opposite the next estate were set out by Capt. W. B. Floyd.

The double row of maple trees on Cottage Park Road were planted by Mr. O. F. Belcher, when he owned the land. On the corner of Pauline street and Pleasant street and on the estate of Mr. Louis J. Miller, the large trees were planted by Mr. P. S. Macgowan, who once owned the property. Most of the large trees on Walker estate were planted by Capt. M. W. Cordes, and those on the Moody estate were set out by Mr. C. T. Moody.

There is a rare and handsome flowering shrub near the sidewalk on Mr. C. G. Craib's lawn, which he planted, and is called archangelica, and is so named on account of its pre-eminence in size and virtues among umbelliferae.

The trees on the next estate, on the corner of Pleasant street and Somerset avenue, were set out by the late Mr. Isaiah Whorf, who formerly owned the property, but which now belongs to Mr. Osmyn B. Ingalls.

Somerset avenue was built entirely for its wholelength through land belonging to the heirs of Mr. James Tewksbury, who inherited it from his father, John Sargent Tewksbury, and much of it is still the property of his heirs, Mrs. Ellen V. Tewksbury, his daughter, and the heirs of his son, the late Mr. Charles H. Tewksbury, who now reside on Pleasant street.

On what is now Woodside avenue, forty-five years ago stood the farm house belonging to the Joseph Burrill estate, and partly surrounding it was one of the largest orchards in this vicinity. The fruit grew to be very large, and the baldwins were of superior flavor. Near the door stood two large cherry trees, which bore most delicious cherries.

Rev. A. L. Stone, who resided one summer in the house, was the popular pastor of the Park Street church in Boston, and he gave it the "Cherry Cottage" on account of the beautiful cherry trees; and on passing along Bartlett Road, a part of this old orchard may yet be seen. Near by was a little pond shaded by a large willow tree, where Gen. W. F. Bartlett, when a lad, used to amuse himself by raising little ducks.

On this estate, and on the hill near Pleasant street, there once grew a row of tall conifers next to the estate of Mrs. M. W. Pond.

On Buchanan street, opposite the head of Fremont street, lived for many years Mr. William B. Belcher, who raised many trees, and planted several orchards in this town. His wife was once Miss Esther G. Fuller, of North Chelsea, a woman remarkable for her energy and industry.

Her hands were never idle, except in church. She seldom made a call without taking her sewing or knitting, and her greatest recreation was in caring for her flower garden. Like Dorcas of old, "she was full of good works and alms deeds which she did," and many were the" coats and garments she made" to supply the needy. She was a great lover of the Bible, and read it through in course many times.

She was a faithful church worker. I n her early days she gathered in the children of "Ferry Village," as it was then called, but is now the City of Chelsea, and formed the first Sunday school in that place.

Her children inherited her energetic qualities. Mr. William Marsena Belcher presented the fine drinking fountain in Columbia Square to his native town. The energy and enterprise of Mr. Orlando F. Belcher is well known; and her son, Mr. Edwin S. Belcher, is proprietor of a ranch in California.

Chelsea Ferry is the first and oldest ferry in the United States, established May 18, 1631, and was the terminus of the first county road in the colony, called the "Salem Turnpike," and extended from Salem to the Mystic River.

Many great loads of hay have been drawn by patient, slow-stepping oxen over this ancient highway, from the farms of Edward Gibbons, Deane Winthrop and James Bill and their successors, the Tewksburys, Floyds and Belchers of Winthrop, starting out on their toilsome journey at 2 o'clock in the morning, passing as they must, across Short Beach, through Beachmont, Revere, Chelsea, over Charlestown bridge, through Charlestown, over the


Cottage Park Pier


bridge to Boston and to the hay market; there to await a customer in Haymarket Square.

An old resident says, "This district was distinctly one of very fertile farms. Oxen did all the ploughing and teaming," and he has seen, at one time, as many as fifteen yoke of oxen working on these farms.


Trees (Continued).

Fifty years ago several silver poplars were growing on the street, near the Town Hall, which were uprooted by a fierce gale of wind on Sept. 12, 1869.

Mr. David Belcher also had a number of them on his estate on the opposite side of the street. They proved so very troublesome to him, on account of the suckers that sprang from the roots, that he banished them entirely from his grounds, and replaced them with lindens, white ash and sycamores.

Two of the white ash trees may now be seen in front of the residence of Mr. E. S. Freeman. Few trees exceed 'the white ash in magnitude and beauty; the leaves are a foot or more in length, consisting of seven leaflets. The flowers are in loose panicles. The wood is firm and durable, making most excellent timber.

Two of the sycamores are now standing in front of the Methodist church. The land on which the church was built was once a part of Mr. David Belcher's estate, and was given by him for the purpose.

There is one silver poplar left, and is still standing on the estate of the late Mr. Samuel Belcher, which now has a girth of eight feet four feet above the ground, and twelve feet where the branches spring from the trunk, and is commonly called the "Silver Leaf Tree."

On the estate of Mr. John Wadsworth there is a noticeable tree, and one not common with us. It is a black mulberry, cultivated for ornament and shade in this and many other countries. Its fruit is dark red or blackish, of an aromatic Bavor. This tree is so near the street that its fruit falls on the sidewalk, nearly opposite the Public Library. It is a native of Persia. The estate was owned and occupied in 1854 by Mr. Jackson Richardson, an active and energetic citizen.

Nearly, or quite, opposite the head of Belcher street, on Winthrop street, there are two large sugar maples, planted about fifty-five years ago by Mr. Geo. G. Belcher, who also planted the apple-trees within the same inclosure.

On the north side of Winthrop street, near the Frost Library, on the estate of Mrs. H. J. George, three graceful birch trees droop their slender branches; and specimens of the same variety beautify the lawn of Deacon John T. Whitman; and still another graces the grounds of Mr. William G. McNeil: and a graceful, cut-leafed birch is growing on the estate of Capt. Lorenzo C.Tewksbury.

On the estate of Mr. G. W. McNeil there is a fine rose garden, successfully cultivated by his brother, Mr. H. Martyn McNeil, who, by almost unceasing watchfulness and labor in trying to overcome their enemies, succeeds in raising in profusion beautiful and fragrant roses, which he most generously shares with his friends and neighbors.

Main street is one of the oldest streets in Winthrop, and some of the largest orchards arid the finest and best kept places are on this thoroughfare. In 1857 Mr. Hawes, a Boston merchant, whose wife was the daughter of Governor Marcus Morton, purchased land and built a stately house on an elevation on the north side of Main street.

He died soon after, and the estate has passed into the hands of several successive owners, who have embellished it with many noble trees. Among the owners who lived there the longest were, Mr. Cyrus Washburn, Mr. Joseph L. Piper and Mr. John B. Huckins.


Almont Street School, Winthrop Highlands, Built 1887
Shirley Street School, Winthrop Beach, 1892


Mr. Benjamin Paine, during his lifetime, planted an extensive orchard, and here Mr. Orra A. Taft used to get his supply of milk, eggs, vegetables, fruit and flowers for his hotel at Point Shirley. Mr. Edward Magee, Capt. S. G. Irwin, Capt. C. R. Sturgis, Mr. Piscopo, Mr. B. W. Clisby, Mr. Lord and many others have planted orchards or otherwise evidenced their love for rural taste by planting beautiful trees, shrubs, and flowers, made their homes attractive and thus beautified the town.

Mr. Frederick W. Belcher is one of the most expert fruit growers in Winthrop, and planted a large apple orchard; also a peach orchard on Hermon street. He was once president of the Winthrop Horticultural Society.

There are many beautiful elms in our town, and I would not forget to mention the elms whose tall, straight trunks and graceful branches arch the westerly end of Main street, which were planted fifty years ago by our well

Taft's Hotel.

known townsman, Mr. John S. Tewksbury, as well as many other trees which he planted on Pleasant street, as far up as the estate of Mr. I. C. Hall.

The trees opposite this estate were planted by Mr. Augustus Shaw, as well as the orchard on one side of the street. He sold the property to Mr. Isaac C. Hall, a Boston merchant, in 1856, who at once planted many fine fruit trees of choice varieties, as well as the smaller fruits, such as raspberries, blackberries, currents, strawberries and grape vines.

The next estate belonged to Mr. William W. Shaw, and in the early sixties became the property of Dr. Ira Warren of Boston, who made it a summer residence. He built green houses and kept a professional gardener, and filled the place full of many kinds of fruit trees, flowering shrubs and forest trees. Many of them have died out.

The long row of conifers which now stand on the north of these grounds were planted as a protection from the cold, north wind. On the death of Dr. Warren, this property was purchased by Mr. Washburn Weston, and a part of it is now held by his heirs.

Mr. Samuel Tewksbury owned the next estate, and planted the double row of elms that shaded the avenue to his house on the hill from Pleasant street, although Pleasant street was not built when these elms were set out. This was doubtless the first elm-shaded private avenue in Winthrop, Mr. Tewksbury possessed a love of Nature to a remarkable degree. His orchard contained a great variety of fruit trees, such as mulberry, apricot, peach, plum, fig, apple, cherry, and smaller fruits in all varieties, as well as many choice grape vines.

He had one apple-tree which fruited, but never blossomed, and had neither core nor seeds. He also planted the fine row of horsechestnut trees on the easterly side of his orchard, which are white with blossoms in late springtime. He was a great lover of Rowers, and cultivated many choice varieties in his box-bordered flower beds.

He also kept peacocks. The peacock is a very proud bird, and a native of India. The feathers of its tail are long and variegated, with elegant colors, and when spread is a most gorgeous sight. Mr. Samuel Tewksbury died in 1849, aged seventy years.

The pleasant, comfortable farm house in which he lived has been removed, and a modern villa built on its commanding site, where now resides his daughter Mrs. A. P. Ingalls and her son-in-law and his wife, Mr. and Mrs. Frank W. Tucker; and to Mrs. A. P. Ingalls grandson, Mr. Joseph Ingalls Eldredge, belongs the distinction of being the first native born citizen of Winthrop to enter Harvard College.


Scenes in Cottage Park


The large orchard of fruit trees still covers the southwesterly slope of the hillside, and being remote from dwellings, Is the favorite home of the singing birds, whose gay colors and sweet songs delight the eye and charm the ear in springtime, when the beautiful pink and white blossoms of the apple-trees scent the air; and gazing upward through the heavily laden branches of bloom to the azure sky above, one is conscious of supreme felicity and delight.

The farm house belonging to this estate may still be seen on Ingleside avenue, and people are now living who remember the time when, for two weeks before Thanksgiving, the young people sat in and around the great fireplace, all busy helping pick the feathers from geese and ducks which were to be taken to market. There were then but nine or ten houses in town, for eighty years ago the boys and girls of the little Poynte knew nothing of sets, but were all like one large family.

The Bill House, now standing on Beal street, is said to be the oldest house in Winthrop. Many years ago there were several large willow trees growing

Old Bill Houae.

near the door, affording agreeable shade in summer, and a large barn stood near and in a southwesterly direction from the house. On Sept. 26, 1815, there blew a terrific gale of wind, which lifted the roof of the barn entirely off and dropped it on to the roof of the house, breaking down one of the great willows in transit, and the marks are still to be seen where the rafters of the house were broken in the terrible crash. During this great storm spray and birds were driven inland twenty miles.

In the rear of the Bill House was an orchard of fruit trees. On one of the visits of the great preacher, George Whitefield, to Boston; he was invited to stay for rest and recuperation at this house, and he delivered one of his remarkable sermons under one of the apple-trees to the assembled people.

He died in Newburyport Sept. 30, 1770, and his remains lie in a crypt under the Federal street church in that city, where curious visitors may still see them.

Other distinguished people who visited the old Bill House were Mrs. Lucy (Sturgis) Bates, who married Joshua Bates of Baring Brorhers, London, and their daughter, Elizabeth, who married the Dutch minister to England, Mynheer Van Der Weyer. She was one of Queen Victoria's most intimate friends and godmother to one of the Queen's children.

Mrs. Joshua Bates was the wife of the donor of Bates Hall in the Boston Public Library, and was a sister of Capt. Josiah Sturgis, for many years in command of revenue cutters; and whose broad epauleres and gold lace are yet well remembered.

She had several sisters who resided in Winthrop, and aJllong them was Mrs. Nancy (Sturgis) Tewksbury, the mother of Mr. John S. Tewksbury, who resided in the Bill House. This old houst::' was the birthplace of two of our oldest and most respected narlve residents, Mr. Hermon B. Tewksbury and his cousin, Mr. John S. Tewksbury.

Mr. H. B. Tewksbury planted the orchard in' the rear of Mr. Shaneck's house on Main street, and the row of horsechestnut trees on its westerly border, and in 1853 he made the first sidewalk on Winthrop's streets. Its length was one hundred and sixty-seven feet and five feet in width, and on its outer edge he planted six elm trees, which are now growing on Main street.

In June, 1885, Mr. Hermon B. Tewksbury with his son, Hermon Douglas Tewsbury, bought a tract of land of Colonel Thornton, beginning on Washington avenue and running back to the marsh. This land was a part of the farm of Mr. Henry Tewksbury, who sold it to Colonel Thornton,


and was originally a part of the one hundred and ninety acres of land granted in 1636-7 to Edward Gibbons by the General Court.

Mr. Hermon B. Tewksbury conceived the idea of grading the most elevated part of the lot and laying out a park with house lots on each side, and an avenue running on either side of an elipse, and a broad foot path through the centre.

Although not a paying commercial investment, it was entered into by Mr. Tewksbury's son and Mr. Litchfield, who had become a partner in the enterprise, a nd now the public may enjoy one of the most delightful spots in this vicinity. Mr. H. B. Tewksbury gave it the name of Thornton Park, and in the Spring of 1886 the trees and flowering shrubs, which now embellish it, were obtained at the Shady Hill nursery and planted.

The season proved very dry and some of them died from lack of moisture; but most of them survived, and now all who pass through this beautiful spot and notice its leafy lovliness, and catch a glimpse here and there of the white sails of little boats as they skim over the intensely blue water, seen in the distance, and inhale the interchanged odor of flowering shrub and scent of brine, may appreciate the generosity of him, whose love of the beautiful in Nature, conceived the plan, and whose liberality has spread so sweet an enjoyment for all to share, and is an unostentatious and graceful tribute from a son of Winthrop to his native town.

On a hillside back of Ingalls Station there was an orchard, fifty years ago, of natural growth apple-trees, which had stood there for many years, and was called "The Nursery," and judging by the numerous sticks and stones beneath their branches on the ground in autumn, one might safely conclude that the small boy, at least, found the apples toothsome. The nursery belonged to Mr. Hermon B. Tewksbury, and was once a part of the Bill property.

Mr. David Floyd, Sr., born 1767, once lived in North Chelsea, where all of his nine children were born. Their names were, Henry (born in 1800), Thomas, David, Edward, John, Phillips Payson, Lucy, Mary H. and Hannah. Mr. David Floyd, Sr., is the ancestor of all of his name in Winthrop. He removed to Chelsea Point, now Winthrop, in 1824, and hired the Winthrop farm, and lived in the Deane Winthrop House eight years, when he bought land on the west side of Revere street and built a house, which was moved to Winthrop Highlands when the United States Government bought the land. He planted an orchard in front of his house, and the old apple-trees now seen at Fort Banks are the trees that still remain of his once large orchard.

His son, Deacon David Floyd, lived in the Deane Winthrop House, and run the farm many years after his father left it; and all of his nine children, except the last one, were born there.

Mr. Phillips P. Floyd and Mr. John Floyd built a house and planted an orchard on Main street. Mr. Edward Floyd, always referred to by the old residents as the "Squire," built a house on Main street, and planted an orchardof apple-trees nearly opposite Hermon street. Squire Floyd' brought a small walnut tree from Saugus woods and planted it on the homestead on Main street in 1860, a, few days after the birth of his youngest daughter. Its circumference measures nearly four feet, and now, as his son naively remarks, "The boys know it, and the squirrels know it;"

Mr. Thomas Floyd, son of David, Sr., built his house and planted his orchard on the top of the hill on Revere street, where the officers' quarters now stand. His wife was Miss Hannah Sturgis. She was a great lover of flowers, _ and made a small collection of rare sorts. She planted near her house the first catalpa trees seen in Winthrop.

Their sons are Capt. W. B. Floyd and Mr. Thomas Floyd, and their only daughter is the wife of Capt. L. C. Tewksbury, who all inherit her love of trees and flowers.

Mr. Samuel Tewksbury married Miss Sally Sturgis, and their house and old orchard still stand on Bates avenue, where reside their daughter and her husband, Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Haggerston; and on Washington avenue is the orchard belonging to Capt. G. W. Tewksbury, his brother, and was planted by him. Near Willow avenue is an orchard planted by Capt Lorenzo C. Tewksbury. All of these orchards were planted more than sixty years ago.

On Shirley street at the base of Cottage Hill in 1854 there grew, near the residence of Mr. John W. Tewksbury, and also near the residence of his


son, Mr. Charles S. Tewksbury, a number of large silver poplars. Some of them may now be seen on the lawn of the Colonial Hotel. Near Mr. John Flannagan's house once grew two white mulberry trees, good size, which were removed to widen Shirley street.

Winthrop Highlands was called the "Cliff Pasture," and all of it once belonged to the Winthrop farm. Here Deacon Floyd pastured great herds of cows. At the old, red gate, which gave access to the pasture, grew an enormous willow tree, which was removed when the streets were built in that locality; and on the south side of the hill were other willows, whose trunks are now mere shells.

Old buttonwoods and elms grew there, too, within the memory of the old residents. Beautiful roses once grew on the bleak summit, and not so very long ago; for on June 22, 1895, Mrs. Thomas E. Piggott picked a large clothes basket full of lovely roses from her rose garden on top of the hill, to decorate the church for St. John's Sunday.

All the trees and shrubbery now growing at the Highlands have been planted since 1875.

This hill was once selected and purchased on which to build an insane asylum for the City of Boston. The project was earnestly opposed by Hon. Geo. B. Emerson and Miss Dorothea L. Dix, which caused it to be abandoned. All of the beautiful gardens as well as the fine shade trees on Winthrop Beach have been planted since 1876.

Not only the rich who could afford to purchase broad acres and expend large sums of money to improve and cultivate them, but people of less means have possessed themselves of smaller sites, built cozy houses and planted their fruit and shade trees, shrubs and flowers, and made their homes a delight to themselves and afforded pleasure to others.

Dr. Samuel Ingalls, a gentleman who did much to advance the welfare of Winthrop, gave expression to this sentiment twenty-five years ago: "Let it not be forgotten that our public reputation, our sanitary perfections, our improvements, the excellence of our streets, the cultivation of our fields and gardens, the tidiness of our public places and our own homes, the planting of trees and flowers, the morality and good conduct of our people, our loyalty to good government, our reverence for the Christian religion, our allegiance to the God of our fathers, are all elements in the grand aggregate of prosperity."


Incidents and Customs

It is recorded that a school was kept in a room in the Bill House in 1779, which was attended by seventeen pupils.

In 1805 the first school house was erected. Its dimensions were 20x25 feet; and in the winter of 1839-40 there were twenty-seven scholars in attendance. A larger house was soon required to accommodate the school, and in 1845 the second school house was built almost on the site of the first one. A facsimile of the facade of the second school house is shown on the Town Seal. In 1854 the whole number of pupils in attendance was forty-eight, twelve of whom answered to the name of Belcher, twelve to the name of Tewksbury, nine to the name of Floyd, and the fifteen remaining pupils answered to eleven different names.

Then larger accommodations and more teachers wert needed on account of continual accessions to the population, and in 1856 the Town House was built with a hall in the upper story, and two school rooms on the ground floor. The District School was divided and graded, with Miss J. E, Russell teacher of the grammar school, in the westerly room, and Miss Adela R. Poor had charge of the primary department, in the easterly room. The Town House was also built on the site of the second school house.

In a few years the Town Hall was us ed for a school room in addition to the two lower roo ms, and in 1881 the construction of another building became imperative, and the site of the present building, the Pauline street school


house, was chosen and a fourth school house was constructed at the Centre; and so quickly were the seats taken by pupils, that an addition was made to the building in 1889, and at the expiration of four years a second addition was made; and in 1896 the High School building became a necessity.

In 1905 thirteen hundred and fifty-nine pupils were accommodated in the school houses of Winthrop, just one hundred years from the building of the first school house, (855 being accommodated at the Centre School).

First School House. Built 1805

The school house built in 1805 was used for a church as well as a school until 1834, and for seventeen years there was preaching at intervals there on the Sabbath.

"In June, 1818, Rev. O. Hines preached for the first time, and was to preach every third Sabbath during the ensuing year. His pay was by contributions, which amounted to fifty-three dollars and eighty-five cents. In 1825-6 many preached here their first sermon, probably as many as twelve." -(OLD RECORDS.)

One Sabbath day in early winter a half a century ago there raged a cold, easterly storm. It had been noised about that there was to be preaching in the meeting house on that day. Preaching in those days in Winthrop did n~t occur every Sunday, but' was intermittent. On account of the severity of the storm few ventured out.

A horse and chaise was seen secured to the fence near the church, which evidently belonged to a stranger, presumably the minister. Such soon proved to be the fact, for a tall, portly man of commanding presence entered the church, and after warming his hands at the fire in the box stove for a moment -- for he had driven fourteen miles, facing the rain and sleet, to keep his engagement - - he ascended the winding stairs to the pulpit; and after the opening exercises, consisting of Scripture reading, prayer and singing, he announced his text to be Psalms 148-8, "Fire and hail; snow and vapours; stormy wind, fulfilling his word;" from which he preached a most inspiring sermon, emphasized as it was by the snow and sleet striking sharply on the window panes, the rattling casements, the roar of the sea, or the wind blowing through the trees, and made an impressjpn on some of his hearers that will never be effaced.

The preacher was Rev. Leonard P. Frost, principal for seventeen years of the Waltham High School, who, in 1879, began teaching in Winthrop, and resigned his position as principal of the Winthrop High School at the close of the Spring term in 1886, on account of the infirmities of advancing age. Mr. Frost was an important addition to the social life of pur village during his stay with us.

Winthrop has enjoyed the privilege of having well beloved preachers and many able and accomplished teachers; but no teacher, however, excelled Leonard P, Frost in the hearts of his pupils. He was a born teacher, and came of a race of preachers and teachers, No scholar was allowed to


answer in an interrogative manner as is common in some schools, but must give a positive answer. He had judgment to detect the superficial from the substantial; and as one of his pupils said, "You have got to know." He was enthusiastic and inspiring and had a social nature, and won the love and interest of his scholars by planning social functions for them to enjoy.

He instituted a club called the Frost Association in 1879, and came from his home in Waltham to be with them, for the last time as it afterward proved, on Jan. 30, 1896, aged seventy-eight years; and said afterward, "I had a grand, good time."

He died in June of the same year, and very many of his pupils attended his funeral in Waltham. They have hung a striking and valuable portrait of him on the wall at the High School, and that he still lives in memory is evidenced by their faithfulness to his wishes, that the Reunions should be continued yearly after his decease. The Frost Association celebrated its twenty-sixth anniversary in 1905, and is the oldest club in Winthrop.

There were many little ponds covered with ice in winter, and perhaps the largest area was found at the Dyke, which has lately been transformed into Ingleside Park, and at Coomey's pond at the Highlands.

Billy Bartlett and Harry and Jack Putnam, as they were familiarly called, were considered the champion skaters. They could skate forward or backward with the greatest celerity, or cut the pigeon wing or the figure eight with the greatest accuracy. Oh, daring Billy! He never attended the village school very long as a pupil, but with his four sisters received instructions at home from private teachers. He was a great favorite with the village boys and joined in their games. One sunny day in winter, when snow covered the ground and lay in deep drifts, which covered the fences, in many places, he started out with his sled for a little coasting.

He came over to the Centre, and, sauntering liesurely along by the school house while school was in session, he espied a huge snow bank, which covered the door steps right in front of the open door. The spirit of fun seized him. Mounting to the top of the snow bank, and seating himself on the sled, he steered straight for the open door, straight into the aisle between the desks and paused at the feet of the astonished schoolmaster, much to the surprise and delight of the scholars. With an air of high breeding, which was characteristic, he raised his cap, apologized to the teacher, made his bow, and with his sled retired, and the school room soon resumed its usual aspect.

We heard of him again, afterward, and in a very few years when, as "Colonel Bartlett, the assault was made upon Port Hudson, the Confederate general forbade his men to kill so brave a man as the gallant Bartlett, who was the only man who dared to ride on horseback, and that with his crutch at his back on the saddle."

The winter of 1855-56 was very cold and stormy. A large family was living in "Cherry Cottage," and just before Christmas they put a large wash out on the soft, green grass to whiten in the frosty dew that fell every night. During the night snow fell and covered the ground, followed by freezing weather, and the clothes were not seen again till the warm sun thawed them out in the following spring.

During the same winter in December, there came a hard storm of wind, rain, snow and fog. While the weather was thick with fog, the English ship, Irene, bound for the port of Boston with an assorted cargo, consisting of iron, machinery, hides, crock eryware and drygoods, came ashore on Winthrop Beach. She was not a total loss nor were any of her crew drowned, but the beach was strewn with wreckage and red reels of white English thread, enough to last every family in town for years, was obtained from the broached cargo, and many an incident is dated by old residents from "The winter the I rent: come ashore."

Every town has its peculiar customs, and in this respect Winthrop was at the time of its incorporation, not an exception. There was one day that was anticiparted with great interest, which occurred in the month of May, when every man and boy shouldered his gun and went forth, partly surrounded the swamp, and sad havoc was made among blackbirds, robins and other birds. The last round was fired on the street in front of the posroffice, and at 5 o'clock P. M., all sought their homes to test the old-time "lection cake," which every good housewife had prepared with great care and provided, as was the custom, for this important occasion.


Another custom which obtained among the native residents, was their manner of serenading a newly married couple. Almost every man and boy would join in the sport, and on some appointed night, would arm themselves with an instrument of some kind with which to make a noise. Tin fish-horns were called into requisition, policemen's rattles, sleigh bells, etc.; but the most ear-splitting sounds were produced by stones that were violently shaken in old tin milk cans. Guns would be fired, and every person make all the noise possible. These serenaders expected to be and were invited into the house and treated. To a stranger this custom seems barbarous, almost, but was in reality well meant and so received by the newly wedded pair; and it would be interesting to know how and when it originated.

There were some funny incidents occurred in the old-time schools, one of which may be related. A lad, who had committed a serious misdemeanor, was called up by the teacher, who was Miss Blodgett, and seriously reprimanded and was told that he would receive corporal punishment, or, if at the end of a given time, his punishment should be remitted if he could compose a rhyme. At the end of the time specified, she inquired if he was ready. He answered in the affirmative and gave this rhyme:

"Here I stand before Miss Blodget,
She's going to strike, and I'm going to dodge it."

In the years of long ago the men of our town were not all farmers. We had our sea captains as well.

There was Capt. Geo. W. Tewksbury of the Ant, Capt. Henry Tewksbury of the Irene, Capt. Josiah Floyd of the Herschel, Capt. Lucius Floyd of the Malvina, Capt. Lorenzo C. Tewksbury of the Marion, Cape. Harry Pierce of the Quickstep, and many others.

Their vessels were laid up for (he winter near the great elm at Thornton Station. They were frozen in solidly; great cakes of ice piled high around them.

In early spring a great rain would come, the warm south wind would blow, and high spring tides carry away the snow and ice, and the little vessels would float. Then would follow busy days of preparation, and soon the sails would be spread, the anchor weighed, and with everything in good shape and a full crew on board, these little vessels would sail out of Crystal Cove, sail past Snake Island and past Point Shirley, sail past the lighthouse on Long Island, and make their way to some outlying island in the lower harbor, load with sand and gravel and take. their cargo to Boston to help piece out the big city. This was a lucrative occupation and called lightering.

This sand and gravel was used exclusively in paving the streets of Boston. Not only was this material taken from the outlying islands in Boston harbor, but a native of Winthrop has seen twenty vessels at the beach at one time loading up. At that time at low tide an ox team or persons on foot could cross to Snake Island or Great Head, for the flats were composed of gravel and sand, which formed a hard road bed; and frequently cows, which had been turned afield to graze, strayed across to the little island.

When the captain had sailed away and his little vessel was lost to sight behind the intervening heights, the good wife of the olden time closed her spyglass, with which she had watched his progress on the water, and busied herself with true New England energy and thrift, with the care of the household and the care of the little farm, which likewise had fallen upon her; for beside her children was there not the animals-the horse, the oxen, cows and pigs, as well as hens and ducks -- all depending upon here for their care!

There was the planting of the garden to attend to, the leach tub to set up, and soft soap to be made; the candles co run in molds, or the bayberry tallow dips to make; the milk pans and pails co scour to silvery brightness with the new, strong soft soap and fine, white sand, which she knew so well where to find on the beach near Oak Island. Then there were hens to sit upon eggs, to raise chickens for home consumption or for market; spring house cleaning to do, ceilings to whitewash, walls to paper, wainscoting and doors to paint, and floors to sand, or cover with home-made carpets and braided or stuffed rugs.

When all this and much more was accomplished, then the fresh, new gown was donned and the snow-white apron tied on, the quilting frames were brought forth, for the family sewing had been done and the knitting in the


long winter evenings. The lining was sewn in to the frames, and the gay patchwork cover spread over the clean, white batting and tacked down; then the feast was prepared, the invited neighbors arrived, and the quilting party was on; for a quilting party was the ambition of every housewife "in ye olden tyme;" and the seasons' work had culminated in a grand success if the quilting was close, the stitches fine, the biscuits light, the jellies clear, the butter cut in "pine-apple shape," the cake rich, the tea refreshing, with plenty of rich cream and sugar, and the conversation animated.

When the violets had purpled the hillside and the golden dandelions dappled the fresh, green grass under the great elm near the water, the little vessels had made many voyages up and down Boston harbor, and captains and crews spent the Sabbath days at their Winthrop homes.



And now most of the fathers of the little hamlet of fifty years ago have fallen asleep.

"Out in the winter frost,"
Out in the summer sun,
Have each a quiet grave;
Have each a spotless fame."

Their little hills are levelled, their fragrant swamps and little ponds are obliterated; streets intersect their broad fields, and dwellings cover their pastures; the fleet of small vessels which once rode at anchor in the cove has sailed away, never to return; and the cove is spanned by substantial bridges. Railroad trains have superseded the old-time omnibus, and parapet and bastion rise where once grazed their lowing herds.

The little chattering English sparrow has driven away the charming, native song birds; and now shall the destructive moth annihilate our beautiful trees and shrubbery?

In the month of May, 1876, there was a gathering of our people in the Square in front of the Town Hall, and in commemoration of the one hundredth anniversary of the Declaration of the Independence of these United States, a promising young elm tree was planted. Twenty-nine years have passed since that event, and today we see a tree of remarkable symmetry and grace. This is our Centennial Tree, to be left in trust by a fast passing generation to you who follow after. They planted this perfect tree as a testimony of their love for our country. Protect and nurture it, then, until its wide spreading branches will bring from day to day refreshment to the weary traveler. May our Centennial Tree become the "emblem of life, the expression of earth's beauty; and the pledge that the present generation, like the past, has in mind the welfare of the future."

"He who plants a tree -­
He plants youth;
Vigor won for centuries, in sooth;
Life of time, that hints eternity!
Boughs their strength uprear
New shoots every year
On old growths appear.
Thou shalt teach the ages sturdy tree,
Youth of soul is immortality."


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