Welcome to Massachusetts Genealogy for Lynn & Nahant, MA
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Since June 10, 2006 – 2011
Hello, my name is Shaun Cook. I am the Lynn/Nahant town GenWeb coordinator.
Lynn & Nahant MA. History Genealogy
Lin -- ..."The Third Plantation occupied a central portion of this charming coast territory, and was parent of the renowned City of Lynn or "Lin," as it was spelled in the act bestowing the name; a place known and respected wherever shoes are worn and bay fish eaten. Several other towns are honored by the same parentage; but Lynn seems always to have ranked as the most eminent of the beautiful offspring of that memorable settlement (Plymouth Plantation); and hence the whole Plantation is occasionally distinguished by her euphonious name. It was in 1629 that the good old Third Plantation was commenced...." (pp 12-15)
- "LIN: OR NOTABLE PEOPLE AND NOTABLE THINGS OF THE EARLY HISTORY of LYNN"
--Obadiah Oldpath (1890)
Nahant-- "Native Americans called the area "Nahant," meaning "the point" or "almost an island." Located on a rocky peninsula jutting into Massachusetts Bay, it was first settled in 1630, and often used by citizens of Lynn for grazing cattle, sheep and goats. The first hotel was built in 1803, and in 1817 a steamboat ran daily between Boston and Nahant. The town was officially incorporated in 1853."
Lynn & Nahant are located in Essex County, MA , about 11 miles north of Boston, situated on the Atlantic Ocean.
Salem and Peabody to the North
Revere is to the south in Suffolk county
Swampscott to the Northeast
Saugus and Lynnfield to the west.
Lynn & Nahant Articles
Editor's Note: Some of the original documents on which this page is based were donated Hank Anders. His great grandfather, William Holt, settled in this area and employed locals in his various endeavors. Holt Soaps was founded in 1890 on the outskirts of Lynn. By the next century, the business was expanded to include cleaning and painting products. They were the largest suppliers of dish soap & dispensers to local folk. His main customers were restaurants and taverns. The Spankin' Clean brand was an early local success before being purchased by The Lever Company. As one of the first cleaning supply companies, the business documents from those early days are fascinating peek into an earlier time long gone but kept alive for us by these records.
Abolitionism In Lynn And Essex County
BY DR. RENJAMIN PERCIVAL
November 12, 1908
On account of the length of this paper, and the limit of space in this Register, the committee on publication have been obliged to omit much which, although interesting, did not apply to occurrences in Lynn and vicinity. The complete manuscript is deposited in the archives of this Society.
The word slave comes from the term Slaves (slahves) that great race of eastern Europe. So many were captured and held to servitude, that the term came to hold its present meaning. Curiously enough, it really means glory.
In the ancient world slavery was universal. All working people were slaves. If a Roman father turned his back on his new born babe it was either exposed or sold. He had the power of life or death over his children.
After the landing of Columbus in 1492 the natives were to be made Christians by the Spaniards and a good priest, Las Casas, was sent to help in this. But the Spanish so overworked and so tortured their victims that they made the most of them die, turned them into premature angels, and sent them on to Heaven inside of two years. To check this too rapid triumph of holy zeal, the good priest persuaded Queen Isabella to permit the introduction of Africans.
Negroes were first enslaved by the Portuguese in the year 1442. In 1502 they began to come in numbers to the West Indies. In 1620, they came to Jamestown, Va. In 1790, Virginia alone held 200,000.
In 1727, the Quakers were the first to condemn the trade. In 1761, they excluded from their membership all concerned in it. In 1774, in this country, they formed the first anti-slavery society.
England resolved to end the trade, January 1, 1796. In 1806, the bill was passed. In 1811, it was made effectual. The United States was in the same position three years earlier in 1808.
Slavery fought back. Louisiana, Kansas, and Arkansas, with Missouri, 1803, and Texas, 1845, made vast accessions, the Fugitive Slave Law supported by Webster, 1850, the Kansas-Nebraska Bill, 1854, the Dred Scott decision "That a negro has no rights which a white man is bound to respect" was delivered March 6, 1857. Cuban Filibusters, 1854, and a determined effort to reopen the foreign slave trade right up to 1859 and 1860 shows how impossible it was to avoid conflict. Uncle Tom's Cabin was first published 1852. On the twenty-second day of September, 1862, Lincoln gave the Emancipation Proclamation to the world. The civil war closed the ninth of April, 1865.
Slavery has not been wholly without excuse. This, no student of history can deny. War and conquest has been the normal condition of man in the past. Slavery was simply the offer of life to the vanquished, and has been often gratefully accepted by the victims.
Africans brought to our land were fully under this primal and remorseless law. The negro, in his fortunes as citizens of these United States, is higher today, has a better chance, than he could have had as a native of the dark continent. But no law primal or otherwise can ever justify injustice and cruelty to the enlightened heart of man. Nature has her laws but God guides the good man's heart and its throbs are controlled by a higher impulse.
There is at all times as much God for man as there is God in man. No grander thought was ever uttered on this point than by Frederick Douglass, the mulatto, who fled first to this city as his altar of refuge from slavery, when he cried: "One with God is a majority."
Among the earliest words of Garrison you will find these words: "I am aware that many object to the severity of my language. But is there not cause for severity? I will be as harsh as truth, and as uncompromising as justice. On this subject I do not wish to think or speak or write with moderation. No! No! Tell a man whose house is on fire to give a moderate alarm, tell him to moderately rescue his wife from the hands of the ravisher, tell the mother to gradually extricate her babe from the fire into which it has fallen, but urge me not to use moderation in a cause like the present. I am in earnest, I will not equivocate. I will not excuse. I will not retreat a single inch. And I will be heard. The apathy of the people is enough to make every stattue leap from its pedestal and to hasten the resurrection of the dead."
This was his opening into the Liberator, the first number Saturday, January 1, 1831. Oh, the unlimited cheek of this very young man.
There was Daniel Webster, the God-like Daniel, and Rufus Choate and Edward Everett and how many, many others, wise men all, inoculated by Harvard with utmost respectability, buttered all over till they shown with the oil or sanctimony from the churches, and - Garrison and Whittier. More daring than any in the whole broad land at that time. Yes, more than most men at any time; for they dared to believe that their souls were their own.
John L. Sullivan of eminent physical memory never dealt such blows as this mild mannered Quaker can give. I have read you Garrison, but if I call him a slugger I may be vulgar but I am surely mild. Why, even the entirely dignified British Encyclopedia says of this man "fire and steel could not have kindled fiercer resentment or left deeper wounds."
Every week Garrison placed at the head of his paper, The Liberator, the unpatriotic assertion: "The constitution is an agreement with death and a covenant with hell." Flat treason! and it tickled him to make the most of it, so he printed it over and over again, year after year.
Hard hitter though he was, that mighty phrase was borrowed from the greatest of Bible prophets, Isaiah. So you have it: Cape Ann Garrison, Whittier, Isaiah, all in line working in body blows on Goliath.
Parker Pillsbury, one of the very best of all these men, will tell you that George Washington himself pursued a slave mother and her child from the Potomac to the Piscataqua, as remorselessly as if they had been a sheep and a lamb. Fortunately they escaped him and lived and died in the old Granite State.
Sturdy old John Adams, in his report of the great speech of John Otis, before the Superior Court writes: "Nor were the poor negroes forgotten."
Not a Quaker in Philadelphia, or Mr. Jefferson in Virginia ever asserted the rights of man in stronger terms. Young as I was and ignorant as I was, I shuddered at the doctrine he taught and I have all my life shuddered and still shudder at the consequences that may be drawn from such premises.
Yet, these are historical facts, and this is an historical society. Political leaders thus bowed to the dust before the demon of slavery which has been described by John Wesley as the sum of all villanies.
Shall we blame them? Not so. Let us love and reverence them for they bore burdens of which we know nothing.
Nobly were concessions to slavery revoked in later days. Sumner and Lincoln remembered their country and would save it. Our two Essex boys forgot it, and remembered only God and their oppressed fellow man.
I was born in Philadelphia. My father went about that city in those early times, getting names on abolition petitions. He had his troubles in so doing, which he enjoyed very much indeed, for men of his kind glory in tribulation, like the ones of old. Only once was he ashamed of his position. He borrowed a cane (not knowing its quality) from his brother, who was a man of sporting proclivities, and mingling with a mob drew attention to himself as an orator advocating peace, when an energetic gesture of his cane, which, wholly unknown to him, was a sword cane, drew from its concealment a bright and deadly blade. He promptly vanished of course, followed by the laughter of the crowd.
About these times, in May, 1838, the new Pennsylvania Hall was burned by rioters. The mayor made his appearance, and addressing the mob, told them that he was going home and going to bed, and he advised them to do the same. The burning and destruction followed as a matter of course, and the flames drove out the abolitionists there assembled with Lucretia Mott and her friends, my own mother among them. Women were freely assaulted, Lucy Stone being very much struck at one time by a large prayer book hurled upon her head. The office of the faithful Whittier was in this building, and here he stood publishing the Pennsylvania Freeman until the other Pensylvania Freemen roasted him out.
My earliest knowledge of slavery was, however in this city. Lynn has a proud record. For some days the railroad train would not stop here. James N. Buffum and a friend of his who had a dark skin, got into an argument with the train officials as to the rights of man and when they were torn from the train and ejected, were so inconsiderate as to take their seats with them. So, the company was mad at Lynn as a nest of abolitionists. I will not repeat the whole story as it has been told and the trains stop now.
Garrison, Thompson, Douglass, Sojurner Truth, and others, I have seen in my father's humble home on Silsbee Street. Opposite stood the much finer house of so-called "Aunt Miriam Johnson." No cotton or sugar to be found here. It was gained by oppressed labor and could find no entrance. Their cellar was a station of the underground railway.
One day a tall negro stood in our low sitting room. He was selling photographs of his lacerated back. Twice he had escaped, twice caught and sent back, and his master had his will upon him. This was his third wild dash for freedom. Names were given him, from one friend to another, where he might safely apply for aid to Canada. And we were his friends. Horror struck at the picture, my father cried: "But, my man your back can't look like this?" The negro answered, with a pleasant smile: "It looks fine now, suh, it is all healed up, but its jes like the picture, shuh enuff. Ef dey is no ladies roun I'd like to take off my shirt an show you, suh." He did so. Great incredible flaps of mangled flesh stretched in long furrows across the broad frame. As he bent and rose, all I could compare it to was the opening and shutting of a great accordion. And he was healed and well and smiling with his hope of freedom. It was my first view of American Slavery. The sight was too painful, his story too terrible to dwell upon at this late day.
Fred Douglass, as I have said, came to Lynn, lived on Newhall Street, and found many friends here. I always thought him a handsome man, and when he married his white wife, in his later and most prosperous years, I said to my barber. who was a fine Nubian black man: What do you think of the marriage of Mr. Douglass? He answered: "I think Mr. Douglass will no longer be received in good society." At first I could not understand this, educated even as I had been, but I soon found that the self-respecting black society of Boston was what was meant and that Mr. Douglass had lost caste in this direction. That negroes possessed pride of race, strange as it may seem to our conceited minds and my feeble excuse for Mr. Douglass, that he was at least as much white as black, found no weight with the barber's indignant manhood. Mr. Douglass had surely lowered himself.
I heard Douglass speak after the death of John Brown. Wonderful orator as he was, after telling the story, he folded his hands penitently before him, hung his head humbly, and in the saddest of voices, said: "and I, my friends, was not there." It was a confession that he had not been courageous enough to join Brown's daring band, that he failed to, meet the occasion. He was doing penance as best he might for his weakness. He thrilled us all and it was impossible not to grant him absolution.
This was not the only time of depression for Douglass. Once when another dark day shrouded his soul, and his gloomy words were addressed to his friends, and all hearts were sinking lower and lower under his magic spell, gaunt old Sojourner Truth, a self-named negro woman, very old and very tall, rose to her height and earnestly asked: "Frederick, is God dead?" And the clouds lifted and the bright sun of righteousness once more broke through .
Another notable negro was Box Brown, often in Lynn resident for a time as Garrison also was, so-called because he was nailed in a box and shipped to Boston as merchandise. He got along fairly well, save when some careless handler stood him on his head when his situation became most trying. Brown was I think a Charleston man. He had a good kind master, was well respected, and some of his master's white friends sought an interview with him filled with curiosity to learn why he ran away from so desirable a situation, promising not to betray him. The interview took place. Brown was delighted to meet them, and to hear from his old associates. They expressed their amazement at his flight and asked what could be the reason for his conduct. Brown hung his head and said: "what you kind gentlemen has said is all true, but sahs, ef you knows of ennybody thet wants my place down there will you please tell 'em I'se willing they should have it, the position is vacant."
When I was about twelve years of age, I was told by my father to go to the house of Mr. George F. Lord, on Essex Street, and there I would find a young man dressed as an old woman with the large hoop skirts of those days, and that I must take her on my arm and escort her down to our cellar until she should be shipped to Maine. I was told the police were stationed in the neighborhood and were watchful, as a complaint had been made to the authorities. All good citizens, just before the war, were very anxious not to offend in any way the southern people, and the police were much more active in consequence. My charge, veiled and bonneted, was safely delivered according to orders, but when we neared the policeman towards whom I walked her, I had great difficulty in keeping her coarse brogan shoes out of sight, even under the immense skirts, as her strides from utter fear, were much too long and vigorous for an old woman. I, however, never had forgotten the accordion back of the slave and felt mighty glad in my boy heart that my father was one of the bad citizens.
Those of you who come of Quaker stock or know of Quaker history are more or less familiar with the, at times, movings of the untrammeled spirit.
Mary Dyer was hung (not burnt) on Boston Common. The dreadful fact is bad enough as it was for those horrible Puritans, without lying about it. But it gives pause when we realize that Mary Dyer, the Quakeress, was determined to be sacrificed, and got what she sought. Most anybody could get those kind of things in those kind of days with as a rule but little effort. It does seem brutal to say Mary got what she wanted but read the full history and you will be inclined to agree with me.
Now some of these reformers thought somewhat along these lines. The women would go into a church and take their knitting with them, as a hint, I suppose to the preacher, that they did not consider his words worth wasting time upon. But they did not do this with impunity. Mrs. Swett of Georgetown was arrested for contempt of worship, and they sent her down to Ipswich where the jailer told the officers to take her back for he just wouldn't confine her and what do you think he said to them? He said "those who sent her there deserved jailing far more than she did."
Stephen Foster and Thomas Beach were sure they were right in going to church meetings and interrupting the services by telling parson and people what very poor Christians they were. The poor church goers knew this already, and they did not enjoy being twitted with the facts. They asked Parsons Cook for the use of his church, and he said, "No!" They asked the same of Nathan Breed, the greatest Quaker of all, and he said, "No!" They told him he would hear them nevertheless speaking out in his meeting. Upon which Nathan answered mildly, "Thee will find us a peaceable people."
So Stephen Foster and Thomas Parnell Beach (who was no ignoramus, but a graduate of Bowdoin College), went church-going in Lynn. Stephen to Cook's Congregational, where they turned him face down, a little man got hold of his legs like a wheelbarrow and they ran him out belly bunk. Then he got up on his feet again and started off to see the Quakers, the peaceable people, and he came away with a portion of his coat collar gone. Why they wanted it, who can tell? Then, the undaunted man went to see the Baptists, and they wanted one of his cuffs and so took it. While he was thus enjoying tribulation, Thomas Beach, who, of course, was equally sandy, called on the Methodists, and in the frolicsome welcome he met, received what they called at the time a "Methodist's dislocation of the thumb."
As both these men were non-resistant, passive in the presence of physical force, a carnal minded man, like myself can but wonder what would have happened if such a good chance for a "shindy" had been fully honored. If, however, the reformers were satisfied, the Baptists and " the peaceable people," the Quakers of Lynn were not. Thomas Beach went to Newburyport jail on indictments from these two societies.
Our James N. Buffum was disgusted by such action and came out from the Quaker society in consequence. When he did so, it pleased some of the reformers, and one of them wrote: "I can gladden friend Harriman's heart by the fact that James Buffum has already or is about doing it, renounced the broad-hatted type of sectarianism and given it over to Satan." So those of you who pass through Silsbee Street in the future will look out sharply for the devil, for he must be lurking about Friends Meeting House ever since this time.
Wouldn't you all like to go into Lynn Quaker meeting with me in these times of 1841 and I842? It won't be dull. It won't be as it often was, a wholly silent meeting. There will be something doing.
Parker Pillsbury says: "At noon we decided to hold a meeting in Lyceum hall at six o'clock, and issued notices to that effect."
Mr. Rogers, never having seen a Friends meeting, in the afternoon attended their regular service, at three o'clock. He found there both Beach and Foster. I did not go near. All was still for a considerable time. Beach was the first to break the silence. He said he had a testimony to bear, and proceeded in his usual serious and moderate manner, ten or fifteen minutes, and gradually drew into the then inactive and very indifferent course of the Friends societies towards the anti-slavery enterprise in particular, but also on the great evils of war, intemperance, and their like, when a high seat Friend rose and said to him: "Thy speaking is an interruption of our worship."
Beach responded that he thought speech was free in Friends meetings, and proceeded. Then another voice came down from the high seat, desiring the friend to be quiet. But Beach kept on, till a third elder rose and asked to be heard. Beach then said, "If anything is revealed to thee, I will hold my peace." "I have" said the high seat voice, and Beach sat down. Then the revealed was uttered thus: "We request thee not to disturb our meeting any longer by thy speaking." Beach then resumed, upon which high-seat members began shaking hands, the sign for closing meeting.
As the elders and some others passed down the aisles, William Basset, then an esteemed and much respected young member, called to them to remain and hear the truth, and not run away from it. Just then, his mother, a venerable and highly honored member of the society, rushed forward, and in great and apparent grief besought him, in piteous and pleading tones, to desist and be quiet. But he answered her tenderly and affectionately, though firmly, "Mother, I am about my heavenly Father's business, and cannot hear thee now."
When I was quite young I discovered what was meant by Lynn "New Lighters" but who and what were the "Come Outers" took me much longer to understand. This was it: The churches did not help the Abolitionists as they thought they should. So, many earnest ones "came out."
They formed congregations, and we had a remarkable one in Lynn led by that fine and learned man, Rev. Samuel Johnson of Salem, and whose place of meeting was, before a church was built on Oxford Street, in Sagamore Hall, on the site of the Fabens building, Central Square.
I doubt if many of you know the honor due to James N. Buffum, in these matters. Of course, there are many others of our Lynn men who did their best in opposing this great evil, but to name them all would turn this paper into a rather lengthy record of names.
He was the man, as I have told you, who bestowed upon Lynn the honor of the train stopping. But he did very much more. He dropped his business and all his home interests, and sailed away to far off Scotland in 1845, to tell them things there, hoping, somehow, in this way to help the cause of freedom. Now, a little before this time, Scotch Christians had come over here begging and they had gathered about fifteen thousand dollars, and some of the money came from the South, and some of the money came from southern Christians, who were slaves, who were persuaded to give their scanty mites.
Now, of course, the men who collected those dollars did not see the blood on them. It takes the man who has no interest in the money to see that. And so it happened that Mr. Buffum showed the Scotchmen that the money dripped blood. Robert Burns never got so drunk as not to be able to plainly see that, "A man's a man for a that, and a that." And Scotchmen all see as Burns saw, when it comes to questions of manhood and freedom.
James N. Buffum gained great influence in Scotland; he set it in a blaze of moral indignation. Pillsbury says that when he visited Scotland, although many years had passed, that Mr. Buffum was greatly inquired after by the people. As Beecher turned the popular tide of feeling of England in our favor during the Civil War, so Mr. Buffum won sympathy for Abolitionism, from this brave and gallant race. It should not be forgotten.
Mr. Buffum was as I have said a "Come Outer." Now, opinions differ in religious matters as, perhaps some of you may have noticed, and is a bit difficult for me, although brought up in the midst of them, to give you their central idea. I have noted the noble thought on the power of God voiced by Frederick Douglass, and yet perhaps, other words of his, apparently far from reverent, best described the attitude of the "Come Outers." Douglass said: "I prayed to heaven over and over to save me, till I had to give up. At last the thought came, pray to your legs. And I prayed: 'O legs, O my good legs. I do pray you to save me from slavery!' So, at last, I prayed rightly, my legs ran with me and here I am." "Come Outers" would see nothing irreverent in this. They would heartily endorse it. To use all your means at all times, with full strength, for good, was righteousness.
It was in the Sagamore Hall, on one dark and stormy night that I saw John Brown. I remember little, but that little with great plainness. I knew something of bleeding Kansas. I had been told of relatives toiling peacefully on their prairie farms, being ambushed and shot to death, by proslavery scoundrels. I had heard too, of men, much dearer to my boy soul, than the flabby non-resistant Foster and his like. I saw here a man who wore no sweet smile of serenity such as lit the faces of Garrison and Emerson. There was something there which later I saw in the face of General Grant. Was it the face of those who accept the responsibility for many deaths? Who have deeply thought of the gravest burdens that heart and conscience know, and calmy shouldered them all?
I cannot say, but, the audience gone, three men stood close together in a corner of the dark hall, around a hot stove, one small light burning overhead, and one small unoticed boy, with them, paying rapt attention to talk he did not understand, and of which he does not remember a single word. What he did understand was, "that this rough looking man had killed 'em, Yes, Sir. He was no chump. He was Ossawotamie Brown." "He don't do any laying down while they cut him up into little bits. There's clubs, and swords and rifles and hangmen's ropes, for them devils, and this one ain't a mite scared to use em all." Yes, the small boy did understand, after all. He did not know, but he now thinks that the two "Come Outers" with Brown that night had come out far enough to reach the guns that cracked later in the insanity at Harper's Ferry. And he, also, did not know, that the gloom, and the wild winter storm raging outside was fitting forerunner of the woeful clouds soon to lower over the devoted head of the grim, fanatic warrior. Not long after this the country was aroused as never before.
I wrote, many years ago, the following lines for my little boy. It relates to the church standing on Union Street near Silsbee, now in the possession of, I think, the Baptists.
A story my boy? Yes, I'll tell you the way
That a bell was rung in our Grandpa's day.
Those days 'ere the south had learned to feel
The fatal thrust of the northern steel,
And before her gallant sons grew pale
In the arms of Death 'neath the leaden hail.
Cowards and mud-sills they deemed us then,
Soon, they were willing to call us men.
Those times to you far away must seem,
And the tale I tell like an idle dream.
Twas in '59, on a winter's day
That far to the south, a convict lay
Wounded and chained and doomed to die
, Ere another sun should mount the sky.
Such felons are rare since the world began,
For his crime was loving his fellow man,
And the wrongs of the slaves so stung his soul
That his brain was maddened beyond control,
And murder seemed right, and treason red
Left law no ruth for his stricken head.
Now the day was come and the hour was nigh,
By the might of the law, John Brown must die,
With never a protest of voice or hand
From the watching people throughout the land.
Some kind hearts whispered; - "God rest his soul."
Our Grandfather thought that the bells should toll.
So, away he sped to the old church door,
(Seldom, indeed, was he there before
For Quaker blood fi1led the veins alone,
And no steepled house would his fathers own.)
Closed was its porch. Not a bolt must draw,
And the sexton, firm in his rights of law,
(With a small soul's care for the outward peace),
Bade him begone, and his clamor cease.
Free and wild blew the wintry air,
Tossing the locks of his thin white hair,
But his eye flashed bright with the spirits rage,
And the blood ran hot in the veins of age
As over and over, again and again,
He strove at the locks, but all in vain.
How well I remember the jeering crowd,
How ashamed I was then, but now how proud
Of the dear old man, who at least gave way
And fell back baffled, so pale and gray.
" I helped buy that bell, its a shameful thing,"
He cried aloud, "that it cannot ring."
And he stood alone in his weak despair
While the crowd was silenced around him there.
Then the Sexton spoke in a milder way,
" 'Tis only Justice that's done to-day,
We know but little, God knows the whole."
Said Grandfather: "Yes, but the bell should toll,
Little enough is that," cried he,
" For a man who dies to make man free."
Are there not some in our town of Lynn
Will help me to break this church door in?"
Thank God for the brave word, fitly spoken.
The bonds of the unjust law was broken,
And help was eager, and hearts were kind,
And eyes saw truth that late were blind.
"Mine be the blame and mine the deed,
Smash in that door." Like a rotten reed
The bolt gave way, and with clattering crash
The bars went down 'neath the rapid dash
Of Youth's strong limbs, and hearts not cold
Under weight of years, or of sordid gold.
Men who, thereafter, on many a field
Forced the proud Southern to flee or yield,
Swift to the idle bell rope win
To save from shame the name of Lynn.
An instant more and the great bell swings,
An instant more and the bell, - it rings,
Slowly - solemnly - steadily toll,
God in Heaven, receive his soul.
Far and wide its music swells,
From the sounding sea to the woodland dells,
You shall suffer for this cried the sexton grim,
But the bell's deep tones were answering him.
"Boy, when old tales to your boy you tell,
Our Grandfather Buffum remembers well."
Some years ago there lived in Hamilton a very bright woman named Abigail Dodge. And she took the pen name of Gail Hamilton, and among many other bright things she said was: "When you are telling the truth you don't have to bother, the thing-is." On looking over my paper I noticed the name Buffum seems unduly prominent. But I can't help it, the thing-is.
Arnold Buffum was one of the earliest presidents of the National Anti-Slavery Society. Jonathan Buffum, the father of Charles Buffum, one of your honored members, was the first president of the Lynn Society.
James N. and Jonathan lived opposite each other on lower Union Street, but were not related and I think that Arnold was not related to either of these. I have a copy of the Liberator of 1860. In it appears the name of James N. Buffum as vice-president, so you see he was at the front to the last. His mental attitude of necessity kept him there. It is said of him that, being asked by an orthodox friend, "What if he should be mistaken in his liberal belief, and wake at last in Hell?" He answered, seriously: "He thought he shouldn't mind, there would be such splendid chances for reform." He possessed the same mental poise as the good deacon, who said if that happened to him "He should try to start a prayer meeting, right off."
But Jonathan Buffum was by no means second in these matters. His latch string was out for all progress: Temperance, Spiritualism, Anti-slavery, Anti-masonry and so on. He printed the Lynn Record from 1830 to 1836. His son says, the office, which was on the third floor of the Rail Road House, at the head of Market street, was mobbed and the two flights of stairs torn away. Armed men stayed in his house nights to protect his family. Bottles of tar were thrown through his windows and ruined his parlor. Henry B. Sprague read to you a fine paper on the "New Lights". In this movement Jonathan Buffum was prominent. He was a moral dynamiter, and nothing delighted him more than the blowing up of an ossified mind.
The Lynn Anti-slavery Society held many young men. William Basset, James P. Boyce, Wendell Newhall, George W. Keene, Daniel and Ezra Baker, Oliver Mudge, Perry Newhall, and I must leave out many others. The women, also, had their society, and bound shoes to help the cause, getting together evenings, but, altogether, earning less than a dollar a night. "They got only three cents for binding a woman's kid buskin, with three seams on one shoe, closed with a double linen thread, well waxed, and the top was leather bound," so says one who knows.
I wonder if anyone present remembers with me the solid, sturdy form of Sam Silsbee?
The story is told of him, that after the passage of the fugitive slave law, when the slave hunters scoured the country, they found one had come to Lynn.
In the words of my informant, Mr. Buffam: "They were so keen on the scent that they found Sam was to take a load of hay to Salem, with the man buried in the hay. They watched for him and came up with him on his way. They told him he had a nigger under the hay. Sam, in his slow, matter of fact way, parleyed with them for a while, when he said to them: ' Well, if you think I have a man in the hay, the only way you can know about it is to unload; but, as sure as you are alive, you shall load it again, as it is now.' They looked at the height. It was too much. They concluded there was 'no nigger in that wood-pile,' and so he bluffed them and the man got safely to Salem."
Sometimes the Abolitionists did get a church to speak in. Once they got the Baptist Church on North Common Street. One indignant pro-slavery member was so mad, that with all the strength of a protesting right arm, a big hammer and stout nails, he fastened up his pew, that the ungodly should not desecrate it by their presence.
But it cost the young reformers only a hop, skip and a jump to pack the pew full, squeeze all the sanctity out of it, and leave the dull owner an object of laughter down to the present day.
In 1835, the English lecturer, George Thompson, invited to this country by Garrison, tried to speak in the First Methodist Church at the head of the Common.
A mob gathered, smashed the windows and demanded Thompson. They really meant business. Lynn Antis did not have it all their own way, by any means. So Isaiah Parrot of Gravesend, swapped coat and hat with him and they crossed over to Daniel Henshaw's, who was then editor of the Record. They got him away to the Erastus Ware farm at Marblehead. Horace and Benjamin Ware some of you must remember. The section is now called Beach Bluff.
But even there was not safe, and so they sent the poor man to row himself all alone, with provisions, over to Ram Island, to stay there until they should signal to him.
So turbulent were the times, that in 1835, William Chadwell, Deputy Sheriff, read the riot act to a Lynn crowd commanding them to disperse.
When Henry Clay, on his visit to Lynn, passed with a procession up Union Street, "we boys," as one good old man tells me, bought fifteen yards of heavy white drill, a yard wide, and got Thomas J. Bowler to cover it with the words: "Tariff or no tariff, no union with slave holders." These children were "Black Mashers" as Ward Four boys were called in my school days, and the sentiment was a good secession sentiment from the northern side. It was, indeed, a common phrase from the Abolition camp: "Let the erring sisters depart in peace." Fortunately the Nation never agreed with them on this point.
England freed all her slaves by purchase; using for this purpose twenty million pounds, one hundred million dollars. A big sum but a trifle compared with our own bills in this matter.
The first of August, 1838, entire English Emancipation was effected, and Lynn, of course, celebrated the event by a procession and jubilee up to Shadrach Ramsdell's grove, which was where the Isaac Newhall house now stands on Chatham Street.
Whittier was well acquainted here in Lynn. It will pay you to look up, when you go home, a lovely gem of his, addressed to A. K. This meant Avis Keene, who lived in Central Square, where the Bergengren Building now stands. A garden was there and a fine willow tree, from which Willow street took its name. As to the poem, they used to press sea mosses in those old days and make beautiful work of them and she had sent him a basket of them. Had he sent me such a gift in return, I fear I should have sent him a two horse load of sea weed as soon as possible.
Avis Keene was an accepted preacher of the Friends Society and bore faithful testimony against slackened protest of Friends against Slavery. She was a great aunt of mine, and most worthy in all things, and I beg you to notice this name is not Buffum.
Sumner and Phillips kept on. Sumner's last words were: "Take Care of my civil rights Bill." A measure of doubtful utility; kept on and proposed the return of captured war banners, disgusting the true warriors of both North and South, with such cheap sentimentalism. And Phillips went on into the mire of Butlerism and Greenbackery. The last I saw of this great orator was in Lynn in the old Music Hall on Central Avenue. It was a drizzling, miserable night, but I said I must go, as there could be but few more opportunities of hearing him. But it was all rather sad. The man was there, the same fine gladiator as of old. But the crowded audience was not there; the occasion was not there; and the subject of the lecture so trivial that I cannot recall what it was. The musical voice, the balanced periods, the flowing thought ;-all there, in the same delightful way; but it was Hercules tossing straws.
I was taught to despise Webster, as I have shown you. But the mists of conflict are clearing. Out of them looms a gigantic form, with large, sad eyes; and a voice sounds: "The Federal Union, - it must and shall be preserved - now and forever - one and inseparable!" and the voice is the voice of Webster. Not love of God or man, but love of country, did the work, and here we find Webster appearing once more as the God-like Daniel. Webster had more to do with the practical freeing of the slaves than the Abolitionists. They, truly, were always ready to brandish the torch of Freedom, but Webster furnished the fuel; the steady, unquenchable fire of the Union men of all parties.
To whom shall we give the highest and final honors? To none of whom I have been speaking. To the writers, to the orators, to the generals? Oh no! To our country's common working man. To him who starved on the long marches; who saw his own mangled flesh blown afar from his tortured body; who roasted alive in the burning forests of the Wilderness; who died unnoticed and alone on countless stricken fields; to the common working man, to the true hearts who subsist on a few hundred dollars a year, bring up their families nobly on that, and are thankful to get it; To these be the highest - and may God, forever bless them!
Some Old Breed Homesteads
By Mary Blake Breed
(A paper read before the Lynn Historical Society, Nov. 18, 1926.)
It has been said: "That a people which takes no pride in the noble achievements of its ancestors, never achieves anything worthy to be remembered with pride by their descendants."
The name Breed is of ancient origin, for as early as during the reign of Canute the Dane, about the year 1000 to 1100 we learn that a colony of that name came from Germany and settled in England, forming a town called to this day by the name of Breed. The name was spelled Brede. Later the English spelling was Bread and later still in America it was spelled Breed. We have also learned that there was a street named Bread in London and that William Shakespeare lived there at one time. The name is even now often heard in England. Our Ancestor, Allen Breed, was the first and only one of that surname to emigrate to this country. He came with a party under John Winthrop, the first Governor of Massachusetts, on one of the eleven vessels which landed at Salem, June, 1630.
Those who came at this time did not flee from persecution, but were voluntary exiles who came to the land of opportunity to live in accordance, not only with their religious beliefs, but to carry out their own ideas and aspirations and to carve a fortune in the new world. Many of them were men of dignity, wealth and reputation. Allen Breed did not stay in Salem, but came to Saugust, afterward Lynn. In 1637, the name Saugust was changed to Lynn. The name Lynn was given in compliment to Reverend Samuel Whiting, who came from Lynn Regis or King's Lynn, England, and was pastor of the First Congregational Church for sixty years.
Up to this time Saugust, which was an Indian name, included what is now Lynn, Swampscott, Lynnfield, Reading, Wakefield and Nahant. The name was changed by an act of the General Court, whose proceeding was very brief and merely read, "Saugust is called Lynn." The General Court, at this time, was composed of those in authority and those who were freemen. Afterward, when the number became too large the House of Representative was formed.
Allen Breed was admitted a freeman and in 1638 had two hundred acres of land allotted to him, as that was the decree of the council that anyone who advanced fifty pounds towards the enterprise should become a stockholder and entitled to that number of acres from the Massachusetts Bay Colony. His sons had fifty acres each. Allen Breed was a man of substance, what we call a well-to-do man, and a man of sterling character. In 1640 he went to Southampton, Long Island, with a company from Lynn, receiving a grant of a large tract of land. He soon returned and we imagine as he came across the marshes, that he said to himself, "Here or nowhere is my kingdom." For he settled in the western part of Lynn, and gave to that locality the name of Breed's End, a name it bears to this day ; a portion is called Breed Square. After the World War there was a movement to change the name of Breed Square, but through the efforts of Mr. Warren M. Breed and Mrs. Charles O. Breed, the name remains the same today.
We have always heard of the bleak and cold reception which awaited the emigrants of the Mayflower, when they landed on Plymouth Rock in December, 1620, and we can well imagine how different was the outlook for those who landed in Salem in June, 1630. They found a country fair to see, wooded hills and plains, fertile lands, the blue ocean on one side, the ponds and lakes in the background, and the bright sun over all. The Breeds were home-lovers and settled near the old home of Allen Breed, in the Breed's End part of Lynn, and intermarried with the Ingalls, Newhall, Johnson, Basset, Mansfield and Farrington families, and sometimes with those of their own name. The story is told that one of the Breeds, when he wished to call together those of the name of Breed, would go to the door and blow a horn and the clan would gather from far and near. In 1830 it was found that there were 243 men by the name of Breed in the town of Lynn. At that time, there was a population of 6138.
The early settlers, when they came to the new world, began at once to look about to find how they would build and where they would place their dwellings. As "necessity is the mother of invention," they were equal to the emergency. They found forests, and they felled the trees. Then they dug a pit or cellar, six or seven feet deep. This was lined with boards or logs. Over this they placed a roof, made of poles covered with bark or straw, with spaces left for the light to come in and the smoke to go out. Here they built their rude cottages and had peaceful possession.
It is supposed that when Allen Breed came in 1630, these primitive structures had given place to more comfortable dwellings. The houses of this period were frame houses and Allen Breed built the first Breed homestead in this country. These dwellings were one and one-half stories high. The frames were of heavy oak timber, showing the beams inside. The walls were whitewashed, burnt clam shells were used as lime. The clams were gathered on the beach, taken from the shells and the shells left to be used for this purpose. The fireplaces were made of rough stones. The windows were small, opening outward on hinges. They consisted of very small diamond panes of glass, set in lead, many of them brought from England. These early dwellings always faced the south, that the sun might "shine square." Thus each house formed a sun-dial by which the good matron knew when to call the men from the fields. It was the custom always to dine at twelve o'clock.
"It has been said that the emigrants had no ambition, but were content with small achievements," but was it not their ambition that gave them the courage to cross the ocean and settle in an unknown land? We all know that "no house is so humble that a great man may not be born in it." Some say that the site of the first Allen Breed house was on Breed Square, but as near as we can learn the original Allen Breed homestead stood near the corner of Light Street, on Houghton Square. Of the house we have no record, but we do know that here Allen Breed tilled the soil and it yielded its increase, and at eventide he could stand in his doorway and look afar upon the many acres which he called his own. Here he lived, and died at the ripe age of ninety or more years ; leaving a goodly substance, numerous descendants, and a good name, - more to be desired than riches.
"Nearly three centuries have onward rolled,
Since Allen Breed - a farmer - so we are told
Within this infant township chose a home
And here content he sought no more to roam."
Ensign Joseph Breed, as he was always called, was seventeen or eighteen years old at the time of King Phillip's War and from his participation in this conflict received the title of Ensign. He married Sarah Farrington and continued to live in West Lynn and built a house on South Street not far from the old homestead. They had a family of eleven children, seven daughters and four sons. This homestead was a square old-fashioned house, with a front door in the middle. It had one large chimney, the style of that period. There was also a side door and an end door. After it had been built about one hundred years it was enlarged and remodelled, and lost its colonial style of architecture. The deed of the land on which this house stands was executed Anno Domini 1694, in the sixth year of the reign of their majesties, William and Mary, King and Queen of England, Scotland, France and Ireland. It was on parchment. This tract of land comprised eight acres, now lying between Elm, South and Ash Streets, and a portion of the land on Summer Street. This homestead stands today over two hundred years old, in a good state of preservation. It is said that the stones in the cellar wall are of unusual size, and that it took six yoke of oxen to move one stone. There was in the garden a peony brought from overseas over one hundred and fifty years ago, and Indians attracted by the blossoms and the fragrance would stop on their way from clam digging and try to barter the clams for the blossoms.
Mrs. Mary Breed, widow of Joseph, who lived to be between ninety and one hundred years old, went there as a bride, and lived there for seventy-five years. The house has always been in the possession of the family.
The second in line of descent from Ensign Joseph Breed was Ephraim Breed born in 1736, died in 1812. He is described as a man of medium height, thick set, rather brusque in manner, but a kind heart. He was a prominent man of his day in Lynn and held many responsible positions; was Town Clerk 1765 to 1804, and was the only Surveyor, at one time. If any land was sold in Breed's End, he did the writing, and made out the deed.
"More than a hundred years ago - the annals read
The people for town clerk chose Ephraim Breed
Who served them many years by which it is shown
That civil service rules were not unknown."
As a young man he went to sea, but returned in time to take part in the battle of Lexington. His homestead stood on South Street on land deeded to Joseph and Samuel Breed in 1694. This old house was inherited by Ephraim Breed from his father Joseph, to whom it came from his father, Ensign Joseph. It was built about 1694. The house was a large old-fashioned one of Colonial style and was inherited with a large lot of land by Ephraim Breed and has been in the family over two hundred years. This house is described as the Ensign Breed house. Mr. Breed was a rich man for those days, a large land-owner. At his death his estate inventoried, mansion house with three acres of land; also one hundred acres on Pine Hill, dungeon pasture and Fresh marsh over four hundred acres. This old house is still standing and in possession of the family. Ephraim Breed had four daughters who married into Lynn families. At this time there was no installment plan, so
"A young man who was so lucky as a maid to win
Built a furnished cage to put her in."
The homes of these families were on North Common Street.
"And these ladies were of such goodly size,
When they walked up the common - some surprise
Would be expressed - people would say,
'See there' -
Here comes the Breed girls in a solid square."
Very likely they went out to spend the afternoon, or to afternoon tea, as we would say. If so, each would carry a tea spoon and cup and saucer. The cups were of the very best china, though very small. The water to make the tea was boiled in a skillet, as it was before the days of tea-kettles.
Ephraim Breed was a gentleman of the old school, an honor to the name of Breed: It was said of him, in his last years, that he often conducted family worship, with the Bible upside down, so great was his knowledge of the Scriptures.
Colonel Frederick Breed, also a lineal descendant of Allen Breed, was born in 1755. He was a patriot when very young, for on the receipt of the news of the march of the British to Concord, although only nineteen years old, he enlisted in Captain Farrington's company, and bravely did his part. When his term expired, he enlisted again. In 1776, his term of enlistment expiring, he again enlisted and was promptly commissioned as second lieutenant by the Continential Congress. His commission is on file at the Pension Office, Washington. The signature of John Hancock is as bright today as it was many years ago. He was discharged from service January, 1777, with the rank of Colonel. His homestead stood on the corner of Cedar and Boston Streets. It was a large old-fashioned square house, facing the street, some distance back from the roadside, in the midst of grassy sloping grounds and grand old trees. This house was of the hospitable type of its day and if it could speak could tell us many things we would like to know, of the life lived under its roof. Colonel Frederick Breed was not a lawyer but did a great deal of legal work. He was commissioned Justice of the Peace in 1802 and again in 1809. Was Trial Justice of the town and held court in the upper chamber of his residence. In latter years Colonel Breed was reduced in circumstances and applied for a pension. His claim was allowed in 1818, but was revoked in 1820 as he was not entirely without means of support. He died in June, 1820 at the age of sixty-five years. This old land-mark, with its sacred memories, was demolished in 1912.
Aaron Breed, another descendent of Allen Breed, was born in 1761, and died in 1817. His homestead was on the corner of Pleasant and Summer Streets. He was of the Quaker faith, but fought in the war of the Revolution and was called "the fighting Quaker." He was the son of Amos Breed, who fought in the battle of Lexington. He was fifteen years in the Legislature. His daughter, Hermione, married George Hood, the first Mayor of Lynn.
Summer Street was right in the midst of the Breed settlement in Breed's End, and on this street you will find to this day a small one and one half story house, close to the street. Here lived Amos Breed, and his wife, who was called Aunt Caroline by everybody. His daughter Antoinette Breed, lived there all her life, and now with her passing the old home becomes the property of strangers.
Joseph Breed, Jr., in the fifth generation from Allen Breed, was one of the substantial Breeds of Breed's End. He was born in 1795. He married Eliza Walden in 1818. His homestead was built on a part of the two hundred acres in the grant of land to Allen Breed on Breed Square. It was a two-story house, painted white with green blinds, Colonial style, with the proverbial Colonial door, on the corner of Summer Street and the Turnpike. Joseph Breed was a man who had the confidence of his friends, for he held many public offices. He was selectman, overseer of the poor, and assessor. He was one of the first school committee. At the time there was only one school in the town.
To this school came the children from far and near. The boys in winter brought a stick of wood over their shoulders, thus contributing to the fire in the fire-place. There were no stoves. Think of a boy of today carrying a stick of wood over his shoulder from Wood End to the Common. The boys from the Eastern part of the town were called "Gulls." Those from West Lynn were called "Alewives." Joseph Breed and his wife lived for sixty years in the old home and had a family of thirteen children. Joseph Breed died in 1879, his wife, ten months later. After the funeral services, the minister and family returned to the house, and as it was to be closed, the minister held a service of Thanksgiving to God for the beautiful family life that had been lived under its roof. Joseph Breed and his wife, Eliza Walden, were married by Bishop Hedding of the Methodist Church Sept. 17, 1818 and had thirteen children, all born in this house, and of whom Mrs. Adelaide Breed Bayrd, born Feb. 24, 1843, still (May 11, 1926) survives and resides at 24 Spruce Street, Malden; she is the oldest living graduate of the Lynn High School. Mrs. Bayrd as well as the other children and her son Frank A. Bayrd were born in what was for two generations known as the "Prophets' Chamber," from the fact that scores of the itinerant Methodist ministers, guests of Joseph Breed, were always assigned to that room. Joseph W. Breed was a son of this Joseph and lived on South Common Street. He was a prominent member of the First Methodist Church.
On Breed Square we find the old homestead of William Breed a landmark for many years, with its broad square front facing the south. At the back of the house there was a large orchard and back of that a large tract of land, extending to what is now Hood Street. This mansion was surrounded with a garden and grassy lawns on all sides. There were two wonderful elm trees in front of the house that attracted much attention. At the time of the September gale many years ago, one of these trees was blown down, and crashed through the roof of this house. Afterward a modern style roof replaced the old one. William Breed's daughter, Mary, married Charles Merritt, and their oldest children were born there. One of the descendants of William Breed has in her possession a chest of drawers made from a cherry tree which stood in the yard. Think of the sentiment in that old chest of drawers.
The Breed boys seemed to look with favor upon the Basset girls, and we know the Breeds are full of sentiment. So it happened that three Breed boys married three Basset girls. They were sisters. It was always considered an ill-omen to change the name and not the letter, but they took the chance and all went well. So it happened that Abraham Breed married Sarah Basset, and James Breed married Rebecca Basset and William Breed married Hannah Basset.
On the corner of Pleasant and South Common Streets lived Theophilus Breed, son of Amos Breed. His son, Theophilis N. Breed, built the dam on Breed's Pond in 1843. Breed's Pond was the original source of Lynn's water supply. This old homestead of the Breed's is still standing, but alas! it has been what is called improved. T. Harlan Breed was a son of Theophilus N. Breed. His homestead was on Harwood Street. He has a son Harlan Breed.
The Andrews Blaney Breed house on Commercial Street was built in 1833 and is standing today. It is on the easterly side of Commercial Street, directly opposite Stickney Street. It was built as a double house, the northerly half being owned by Andrews Blaney Breed and the southerly half by another family. Andrews Blaney Breed was a surveyor of lumber and the first station agent at West Lynn station on the Eastern Railroad (now the Boston and Maine Railroad).
His son, Charles Otis Breed, lived with his father in the Commercial Street house until 1860, when he purchased a house on Neptune Street near Commercial Street. That house has recently been moved back into the rear of its lot. In 1883 Charles Otis Breed built a home on George Street, which still stands. His son is Professor Charles B. Breed, the first President of the Breed Family Association.
Samuel Breed built his homestead on a part of the original grant of two hundred acres to Allen Breed, near what is now the corner of Orchard and Summer Streets. This old house, like many of its day, was one and one-half stories high, surrounded by a large lot of land, containing a garden, back of that a fruit orchard, and back of the orchard, farm lands, extending to the harbor. In this house was born Richard Breed, who married Eliza Ann Breed and lived in the other side of the house, which became a double house, with two doors on front, side by side. Richard Breed's children were all born here. Later, he built a mansion house, on part of this land, inherited from his father, Samuel Breed. Richard Breed was a hay and grain dealer, and carried on a successful business for over sixty years at the old stand on Summer street near the Lynn Common depot. At the death of Samuel Breed the old homestead came into possession of Richard Breed, and was sold by his heirs. His son, Charles Orrin Breed, inherited part of the estate.
In 1829 Andrews Breed built a house on Boston Street between Mall and Marion Streets. It was one of the show places of Lynn in its day. A large colonial house, with the proverbial pillars extending to the second story, it stood back from the street, surrounded by beautiful grounds, adorned by many beautiful trees. We think that Mr. Breed must have felt as the poet did when he said,
"I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree,
A tree that looks to God all day
And lifts its leafy arms to pray."
Many of these trees Mr. Breed brought from the woods and set out with his own hand. The land extended back to the turnpike. Later the house was removed, when the place was sold and laid out in house lots. Mr. Breed built a house on North Common Street, on the site of the Parson Henchman House. Andrews Breed was elected Mayor of Lynn in 1855 and brought to this office his business experience of many years.
Henry Allen Breed was born in 1798, son of Thomas Andrews and Hannah Newhall Breed. His father moved from Lynn to Salem but soon returned. He was a prosperous man of the day and built the mansion known later as the Healy Estate right back of the Arcade or Boscobel, as it is called now. This house was of stone and stood on a high banking as was the style at that time. It was surrounded by a wonderful garden, enclosed by a high fence. It stood there for many years but its glory has departed. Later he built a cottage house on Elm Street, a very attractive homestead, with its dormer windows and piazzas on all sides. This also stood on a high banking in the midst of a beautiful garden.
Abraham Breed, who moved from Breed's End in Colonial days, married Sarah Basset of Nahant Street, and she may have induced him to purchase a large tract of land on Black Marsh Lane, now Union Street, and to build a house there. He had one son and three daughters, and followed the English custom of leaving his estate to his son, who immediately divided his inheritance with his sisters. Abraham Breed built this homestead some distance back from the street on the right side of lower Broad Street of today. Its spacious grounds were enclosed by a high fence and sheltered a wonderful rose garden, which was enjoyed for many years by the passers-by, as well as the family. Abraham Breed's daughter married William Thompson. The son, Joseph Basset Breed, married and also lived on a part of the land of his father. He had three sons who inherited each a portion of this tract of land. They were Joseph, 2nd, Richard and Henry. Joseph, 2nd, and Henry built homesteads on part of this land. The old Abraham Breed house stood for hospitality on a large scale. The family was very much interested in the anti-slavery movement and the house was one of the links in the underground railroad, for helping the fugitive slave to escape from bondage. This old land-mark went the way of many others and was destroyed in the Lynn fire of 1889. Henry Breed, son of Joseph Basset, moved from Union Street to Green Street. Another son, Richard, built a house on West Baltimore Street. As we pass up Union Street, formerly Estes Lane, we come to an old house standing on a little hill, calmly looking down on the busy thoroughfare at its feet. What changes it has seen. When it was built it overlooked the vacant town-lands clear to the ocean. It was once owned by Dr. Burchstead, about 1723. The next owner was William Estes, whose daughter married Amos Breed, great grandson of Allen Breed the first. In 1784 a document shows that William and Ruth Estes deeded to Amos and Ruth Breed a part of upland on a portion of which stands the dwelling house and mansion house of Amos Breed. In 1807 the Amos Breeds added to their landed possessions. They owned a great deal of pasture land, where is now Pinkham, Lincoln, School and Green Streets. Gradually, these were disposed of by Amos F. Breed who built the house corner of Union and Lincoln Streets. Amos F. Breed was born in 1867, died in 1902. He was interested in many public enterprises especially the Lynn and Boston Street Railway. The old place is now in possession of his grandson of the fourth generation, Amos Francis Breed.
In 1830 Exchange Street was called Pine Street, and where we now find the North Shore News Company stood the house of Daniel Breed, wood and coal merchant, father of William N. Breed and grandfather of George Herbert Breed, former president of this association. This house was moved many years ago to Newhall Street to make room for business. Daniel Breed was a pioneer in the wood and coal business and his son and grandson have followed in his footsteps. William Breed, father of Daniel Breed, lived at one time on Nahant, near where the Whitney Homestead now stands. He was a grandson of Samuel Breed, and inherited the property on Nahant.
James Breed was the fifth in line of descent from Allen Breed, and inherited land from his father, between what was then Pine Street, now Exchange, and Silsbee Street. A deed of this tract of land over two hundred years old, is now in possession of Miss Sallie H. Hacker. His house stood in about the middle of that lot. Later, it was moved to Silsbee Street, and later still, after the grade of the street was lowered, it was moved back, and now stands on the court off Silsbee Street, but remodelled ; not a trace of its former architecture remains. James Breed was a tallow chandler, a purveyor of light for those days. He was a staunch Quaker at the time when this sect suffered persecution, in the days of the Revolution. At one time he sat for his portrait. When it was finished he was not satisfied, so unbeknown to his family he sat for another picture. The first time he wore a brown suit - this time gray, - "For," said he, "I am a Friend, and should always wear gray." The last portrait is owned by Miss Sallie H. Hacker and the first one is in possession of the writer. Speaking of Quakers I have heard of a gentleman of that persuasion, of a poetical turn of mind, who is said to have given his son the following invitation to resume the duties of the day. "Arise, John Henry! The sun is gilding the Eastern horizon with sapphire and gold." Of course, the boy responded at once.
Isaiah Breed was the oldest son of James and Hannah Alley Breed. His homestead stood on land inherited from his father, on the corner of what is now Broad and Exchange Streets. This old house stood near the street, enclosed by an iron fence, which was considered quite ornamental in those days. Later, the house was moved back and on a slight rise of ground, approached by a flight of steps. Like all houses of that period, there was a door in the middle and as you entered at the right there were the old style double parlors, which were large, though low-studded. On the other side there was a small room later used as an office by his son, Dr. Bowman B. Breed. Back of that, large double dining-rooms, one used for the family, and both for the large family gatherings, which would number from forty to fifty persons. The windows in this house were encased with the old time window shutters, afterward replaced by Venetian blinds. The grandchildren of this family were very much attracted by the red glass side lights to the front door, which gave everything a rosy hue when you looked through them. Another attraction was the little glass-room over the front door. A conservatory for plants - a sun parlor of today, quite unusual at that time. Isaiah Breed was a prominent man of Lynn in his generation. He was interested in all public enterprises. With his dignified, courtly bearing, he was a noted figure on the street. This old homestead was partly damaged by fire in 1889, and later demolished to make way for the Lynn Gas & Electric Company.
Isaiah Breed had four sons. Bartlett B., the oldest, built a house on Newhall Street at the time it was cut through Newhall field. Isaiah Clarkson, who built a house opposite, was another son. George Rodman's home was on Broad Street, and Dr. Bowman B., the youngest son's house, was on High Street.
Nathan Breed was a second son of James and Hannah Alley Breed, and as he and Isaiah were brothers it was quite natural that they should build their homesteads side by side. The Nathan Breed house was very pretentious for its day, and was always called "The Mansion." The rooms were very large and well-fitted to carry out the hospitable ideas of its owner. Nathan Breed was a Quaker and noted for his generous hospitality and here were entertained Friends from all over the country, among them many notable people. The "Mansion" stood back from the roadside on a slight rise of ground, terraced to the street. It was at one time connected with the underground railway for freeing the slaves. Nathan Breed was one of the substantial men of his day. We have heard that when a young man he made a vow to the Lord, that if he was successful in business he would devote a part of his wealth to charity. So we have the Child Welfare house for helpless children. This old house, with all its hallowed associations was moved back to make way for business and finally demolished. Miss Sallie Hacker has given us a wonderful pen-picture of its best days. Nathan Breed had one son, Moses S., who built a homestead on Mulberry Street. This street was so named from the mulberry trees on both sides of the way.
On Windmill Hill, afterwards Sagamore Hill, Moses Breed built his house on the "road leading from the Meeting House to Nahant" as Nahant Street was called. This land had been in the family since 1739. The old homestead of his father stood on the left side of the street and was later known as the "Wooldredge Estate." Then Moses Breed built a house on the right side of the street. He owned land from here to the beach.
On Nahant Street still stands the homestead built by Joseph Breed, 2nd, who formerly owned a house on Union Street. It is now in the possession of his descendants. Jabez Breed was the son of Samuel Breed, and brother of Moses Breed. He built his house on Nahant opposite the old Whitney homestead. A few years later, he exchanged with Richard Hood for his home on Nahant Street, Lynn. This old homestead stood near what was called Sagamore Hill, so-named from the Indian Sagamore. Jabez Breed owned about fifteen acres of land in this vicinity. At a wedding given at his house, we have been told that the Indians came and danced around the grand old elm tree which stood on the ground and was an object of admiration for many years, standing in perfect condition until the land was sold.
In 1710, John Basset built his mansion house on what was an open field now the west side of Breed Street. This street was not opened until 1844. John Basset died in 1753.
In 1800, Jabez Breed, who married Mary Basset, lived in the easterly side of this house and Rufus Newhall who had bought a part of the Basset farm, lived in the westerly side. This old homestead was two and one half stories high and had a long sloping roof in the rear called a lean-to. There was a single chimney of immense size for the use of both families. There were two front doors, side by side. At one time, it would seem that the Newhalls and Breeds under this roof had a "falling out," as they used to say. Perhaps the Breeds were a little "set." It could not have been the Newhalls, for one side of the house was painted yellow and the other was minus paint. There was a fence dividing the front yard, that went from the street to the middle of the house. The Newhall part of this house was razed in 1878 and they took with them half of the chimney. The Breed side was razed in 1890.
On the north side of Lewis Street stood the house of Basset Breed, son of Jabez Breed, and on the west corner of Basset and Lewis stood the homestead of Francis Breed. This old house descended in the family, one side owned by one and one by another. One side is like the original and the other has become an apartment house. Elwyn Breed built his house on the south side of Lewis Street.
Asa Breed owned a large tract of land extending from Lewis Street to Ocean Street, when Ocean Street was pasture land. This was farm land and later Breed, Nichols, Foster and Garland Streets were cut through this same territory. Asa Breed had four sons, who built their houses on a part of this land. As we come up Lewis Street from Broad, we find a one and one-half story house, standing on a slight elevation overlooking the busy street, on the corner of Breed and Lewis Streets, on one side of the lot. This old house contained when built, in 1830, two rooms on a floor. There was an addition made as the family grew and as there were ten children, the ell became larger than the house. This was the home of Hiram Nichols Breed, the ninth Mayor of Lynn, - born 1809, inaugurated Mayor of Lynn 1861. He was a public-spirited man, greatly interested in anything pertaining to his native city and held many public offices. Alas, this old homestead with all its memories, has passed to strangers, and is being demolished to make way for the march of progress. The house next belonged to Hiram Breed's brother, Asa L. Breed.
In 1717, we read that Nahant was without any inhabitant. James Mills having died, his family moved from Nahant, and the house and land became the property of Dr. John H. Burchstead who sold it to Samuel Breed, and he built a house near where now stands the Whitney Homestead.
Samuel Breed was small of stature and was generally called Governor Breed. He was born in 1692 and married Deliverance Basset in 1720. His homestead became the property of his son Nehemiah, and his grandson William, who rebuilt the house in 1819. For twenty-four years this house was kept as a hotel by Jessie Rice, and was purchased in 1841, by Albert Whitney, who married a daughter of Mr. Rice.
Leaving Exchange Street we come to Broad Street, once called Wolf's Hill, and here on the corner of Nahant and Broad we find the homestead of James Breed, Jr. Now James Breed, Jr. did not look with favor on the young ladies of Lynn of the Ingalls, Mansfield, Newhall and Farrington families, but wandered afar and took for his bride Phoebe Nichols of Berwick, Maine. He built his house of lumber from the forests of Maine, which was a part of the dowry of Phoebe Nichols. Here he brought his bride and here they lived many years and brought up their family. He and his wife were both prominent Friends and lived and died in that faith. James Breed died in 1853 and his wife in 1863 at the age of ninety-two years. The eldest son, Stephen N. Breed, married Elizabeth, daughter of Frederick Breed and brought his bride to the old homestead. Later James Breed, Jr. built the house at 17 Nahant Street for his sons Stephen N. and James. Stephen N. had a daughter, Mary Elizabeth, who became a physician at the time when a woman doctor was almost unknown. Later, Stephen N. Breed moved back to the old homestead and lived there until his death in 1886. James Albert Breed continued to live at 17 Nahant Street. This old homestead is one of the few left and is in possession of his descendants. The old-fashioned garden was a great delight to James A. Breed, who spent many hours among the, flowers. This same garden was laid out in "squares and rounds" and bordered with the old-time box.
At one time it was our good fortune to enter a room of which we will try to give you a pen-picture. We were first attracted by the high wainscotting all round the room. Then the window sills and the fascinating window shutters, with little glass knobs to take hold of when you wished to open or close them. The oldstyle door with the panels in the form of a cross, with the gilt key holes and graceful little keys, and glass door knobs. Then the large open fire-place and the wooden mantle above. Round the room we found many pieces of antique furniture. On the tables old daugerreotypes and odd pieces of China, and over all lingered the tender grace of the day which is gone. This room is in a Breed homestead in Lynn in the year 1926.
The Breeds, many of them, settled in Breed's End and the oldest houses we find there. Later, they bought land in other parts of the town. Now we find many Breed homesteads scattered throughout the city. The list of members of the Breed Association shows that those of this name have travelled far and wide, as we have names from nearly every state in the union.
"Those fair homes sheltered by ancestral ties,
Are shrines for dear and sacred memories;
Mid sights and sounds the eye and ear enhance
Who would not like to take a backward glance?"
Miss Breed wrote this paper originally for the Breed Family Association meeting of March 11, 1926.