The High Street Master Plan

State and High Street, Courtesy of the Newburyport Archival Center
State and High Street, Courtesy of the Newburyport Archival Center

In 1999 the City of Newburyport rallied to save High Street from plans by MassHighway, now MassDOT. More can be read about that on The Newburyport Blog’s page about Hight Street as well as the post on how High Street was almost destroyed in 1999.

In 2004 the city came up with the High Street Master Plan, however, the plan languishes in the Newburyport Planning Office.  People were so upset when the bike lanes went down that the mayor vetoed the High Street Master Plan and the Newburyport City Council did not have the votes to override the veto. Much later the Newburyport City Council did vote for the High Street Master Plan, however, the funding had been lost and there was no “political will” to make it happen. The plans are still there in the Planning Office and they are gorgeous. I wish there was once again the political will to restore High Street.

The Ridge, High Street, Courtesy of the Newburyport Archival Center
The Ridge, High Street,
Courtesy of the Newburyport Archival Center

This is from the High Street Website (that has been taken down). The text from that website can be found here.

The High Street Master Plan

In the spring of 2004, the City of Newburyport presented its citizens with a Master Plan for High Street. The plan was received with enthusiasm and cheers when it was presented at the public hearing held at City Hall.

The plan is a thoughtful and commonsense approach to High Street. It emphasizes preserving and enhancing High Street’s beauty and historic quality, repairing the roadway and slowing down traffic without traffic lights or stop signs.

The plan calls for brick sidewalks, planting trees along the corridor, repairing and keeping the shape of the roadway. It also calls for bicyle lanes and 11.5 wide traffic lanes to slow down traffic, keeping traffic at the speed limit without traffic lights or stop signs. The plan incorporates textured crosswalks that look like brick around critical areas such as schools, churches, parks and businesses.

In 2001 the City measured all the sidewalks along High Street and found that they were more than wide enough to meet ADA standards, enabling the City to keep the original shape of the road. The Master Plan calls for brick curb-cuts where the City feels they are appropriate (the MassHighway plan called for cement curb cuts where there were existing cement or asphalt sidewalks).

High Street’s Master Plan retains all of the subtle and irreplaceable historic elements such as hitching posts and carriage steps, as well as the varying widths of the roadway, that have evolved slowly over time and tell the story of the generations that have gone before us. In short, it is a remarkable solution to what in 1999 seemed to be an unsolvable dilemma.

75 High Street, Courtesy of the Newburyport Archival Center
75 High Street, Courtesy of the Newburyport Archival Center

Newburyport — Resiliency

Market Square, 1972 from the alley next to the Fire House.
Market Square, Newburyport, around 1972, before Urban Renewal, from the alley next to the Fire House. Courtesy of Sharon Bauer, via the Newburyport History Buffs.

It always takes my breath away when I see photos of Newburyport before Urban Renewal. This is a photo, courtesy of Sharon Bauer via the Newburyport History Buffs on Facebook, of Market Square before the restoration of downtown. It was a slum. It’s very fancy now, in fact the whole town is very fancy now, but it was a slum. Sharon has the date as 1972, but it may be even earlier than that.

I moved here in 1981, downtown Newburyport had been restored, but the rest of Newburyport surrounding the downtown had not been. I was in the late part of the first wave that “discovered” Newburyport, an historic small city, surrounded by farmland, that seemed to be preserved in amber. We were painters, writers, musicians, teachers who thought we had discovered an unfinished masterpiece.

I bought my first house, a gorgeous Greek Revival on Federal Street, for $74,000 and was upset because the folks who sold it had it for one year and had doubled their money.

By the time I had driven down High Street and had parked on Green Street in front of the real estate agency, I knew this was home. I didn’t even know about Plum Island until after I bought the house (now that was an amazing surprise/plus). The Tannery was still a tannery (David Hall had not yet transformed it) and Maudslay State Park did not exist. The natives looked at those of us who came in early with a whole lot of suspicion (the subject of many, many blog posts over the years on The Newburyport Blog).

One of the things I sensed about Newburyport, I knew absolutely nothing about the city, was its resiliency. And Urban Renewal was not the first time that Newburyport had risen like a phenix from the ashes. As a young woman that sense of resiliency resinated with me, it still does.

And now, 36 years later, Newburyport is in a “boom” phase. A friend of mine said to me, many, many years ago, that Newburyport was headed up, but it’s history was one of ups and downs, and it would decline again.

As I said, we are fancy now, so fancy I can hardly remember the resilient aura. I loved the city back in 1981 and I’ve loved it as it has blossomed in unimaginable ways. Yes there feels as if part of it is lost (so many blog posts on The Newburyport Blog) but I love where I live 36 years later.

Inn Street, Newburyport MA
Inn Street, Newburyport MA

 

Local Elections — Not Voting with the Tribe

I would like to offer my congratulations to Mayor Holaday on winning the mayoral election and to all the Newburyport City Councilors, At-Large and Ward Councilors who won, and a big thank you to all who ran but did not win. Thank you all for stepping up, showing up, and caring so much about the community that we all love.

89-91 High Street, the Ridge, Newburyport, MA
89-91 High Street, the Ridge, Newburyport, MA, Courtesy of the Newburyport Archival Center

This local election was really interesting. I supported a candidate for mayor, an honorable man who has served this community with passion and commitment, not just as a Ward Councilor for 8 years, but in other capacities as well, and not our current mayor — it was quite an eye opener — I didn’t vote this year with “the Tribe.”

It appears to me that people were shocked that I and Ward 2 Councilor Jared Eigerman supported Bob Cronin and were vocal about why we were not supporting the current administration. I absolutely understood why people voted for Mayor Holaday, I certainly would never hold it against them, in fact I completely understand why they voted the way that they did, and I am pleased that they cared enough to show up and vote, to get out there and care about our local civics enough to canvas, put up signs, organize. This is Democracy, thank goodness, I thank them for their passion. Apathy is what I dislike the most, not civic engagement, good grief.

There were some lovely people whose response to my “weird choice” was, “We will agree to disagree,” God Bless them and “thank you.” The anger that I saw directed at Councilor Eigerman and at times myself seemed way out of proportion. He and I have agreed that it feels as if we are pariahs (Jared’s phrase) and have semi-officially created “The Pariah Club.” I had thought of calling it The Newburyport Pariah Club, but “The Pariah Club” seems to be the moniker that appears to be sticking. It’s a fairly exclusive club.

What I saw directed at Councilor Eigerman and myself were bizarre rumors and character assassinations. I had people thank me for having the courage to publicly support Bob Cronin. I had people apologize for their fellow citizens. I had people tell me I was nuts and that I should keep my sentiments to myself, they certainly were, and would never let anyone know who they were actually voting for.

I’ve written about this on The Newburyport Blog, over the years my father would shake his head and tell me I needed to learn how to “play the game.” I’m lousy at what my father used to call, “playing the game,” it’s just not in my DNA. Apparently it’s not in Jared Eigerman’s DNA either, which is probably one of the many reasons that I “resonate” with him, and I am proud to be a co-founder with him of “The Pariah Club.”

The Ridge, High Street, Newburyport, MA
The Ridge, High Street, Newburyport, MA, Courtesy of the Newburyport Archival Center

Now as a btw, I would hate to see that anger which has been directed at Jared Eigerman result in a super to the left (if that is possible) challenger for the next City Council election, should Jared choose to run again for Ward 2 City Councilor in 2 years. (The Pariah Club doesn’t have any real world consequences for me the way it possibly could for Jared.)  Jared has been invaluable on the Council. Jared has the expertise, legal expertise, finesse, and political will to make things happens for historic preservation (one of my great Newburyport loves) that I have wished for.

Back in 2012 as the LHD wars were completely disintegrating, then Councilor Ives, now Senator Ives talked to and listened to all sides and came up with a compromise (which as a btw is one of Senator Ives incredible gifts that she has so wonderfully brought to her role as State Senator, I could not be prouder). Jared Eigerman, a then pretty much “unknown” wrote that piece of legislation which Councilor Bob Cronin co-sponsored. It went nowhere. In 2014 Jared Eigerman was elected as Ward 2 City Councilor. As Jared said in his recent Letter to the Editor, Bob Cronin worked with him on “creative legislation to prevent tear downs of historic homes and review major alterations downtown.” In 2014 a version of what Senator Ives had been trying to create became a reality. Since then Councilor Eigerman has had the political will to continue making zoning to protect our historic assets possible. The latest one, which he wrote, and was co-sponsored by City Councilors Ed Cameron and Barry Connell, protects “the Ridge.” I have been wanting this since 1999 when the city fought to save High Street–my own introduction to “civics.”

Just another btw, it used to be that local elections had nothing to do with party politics. It used to be that no one knew what political party local officials belonged to. Not so this election. I was dismayed (and lots of people do not agree with me) to see Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey and Congressman Seth Mouton (I’m fans of both) come and stump for one particular mayoral candidate and for the Newburyport Democratic City Committee to run one candidate’s Facebook posts on their Facebook page and to my knowledge not the other candidate. And that’s all I have to say about that (at least for now).

The historic photographs are Courtesy of the Newburyport Archival Center, the link to their online collection can be found here.

The Mayoral Election 2017

 

Canvassing with mayoral candidate Bob Cronin
Canvassing with mayoral candidate Bob Cronin

I’ve know Donna Holaday and her family for about 25 years, I’ve known Bob Cronin for about 8 years. As you can see from the photos, this year I am enthusiastically canvasing for Bob Cronin for Mayor.

I wanted to tell the Mayor Holaday personally (as well as a couple of people very close to her) why I am not supporting her this year. We are a community, we are neighbors, and I admire anyone who is willing to step up, who wants to be the mayor of this amazing city. I am beyond grateful to those who are so willing to serve in the most difficult position in Newburyport.

I told Mayor Holaday that I am grateful for all the many things that she has accomplished in the last eight years. However it is my own feeling that after eight years it is impossible not to be in a “bubble.” I told her that I wished that she had stepped down, picked a candidate and gotten behind the cart and pushed.

What I have seen now from over 25 years of following local politics, is that the pressure of being mayor is enormous. It seems to me that it squeezes people’s souls. The fact is that we as a city never have enough money, there is $8,000 for $8 million dollars of things that need to be done. Every department is underfunded. The strain is enormous and I have seen over and over again, how it takes its toll on people who hold the corner office. I once saw a note on the door of City Hall by former mayor Peter Matthews, it said, “Being mayor of Newburyport is the loneliest job in the world,” obviously he was having a very bad day. I am grateful for Mayor Holaday’s eight years, I think 12 years is 4 years too many.

Bob Cronin has served this City faithfully as a Newburyport City Councilor for almost 8 years. He is a man of strength, commitment, diligence, and integrity. I’ve agreed with Bob on issues, I’ve disagreed with Bob on issues. I’ve never known him to come to a decision without having wrestled with what he feels is best for our city. I’ve heard wonderful things as I walk around the city about Bob. I’ve also heard puzzling things. People have said things to me like “He’s a cop, he doesn’t know anything.” Please, if you feel that way sit down with Bob and talk about something as intricate as the City’s budget, you will come away understanding what a smart and impressive man this is. I’ve heard things like “He’s a bully.” If you are a person who is reading this, look at the photos, obviously, I certainly would strongly disagree with that statement.

Bob co-sponsored with then City Councilor Ives (now State Senator Kathleen O’Connor Ives) the compromise after the Local Historic District (LHD) wars (that tore apart this city), and that middle-ground eventually became an ordinance/law. It was one of those compromises that gave something to everyone, and not everyone got want they wanted. It’s called governing. I trust Bob’s commitment, his humanity, his intelligence, his strong work ethic, his integrity to run this city if he has the privilege of being elected mayor.

_________________________________________

Please Vote in our local election Tuesday November 7, 2017. You will be voting for Mayor, for your Ward City Councilor, for five Newburyport City Councilors at Large, for three School Committee members and a non-binding referendum question on the proposed downtown parking garage.

Canvassing with mayoral candidate Bob Cronin
Canvassing with mayoral candidate Bob Cronin

Healthcare, Pre-Existing Conditions, the Republican Repeal and Replace Plan, their Terrible Idea of High Risk Pools and Repeal Effects Everyone

For a while now, I’ve kept The Newburyport Blog very local, but after watching the Republican Senate vote against all matters of healthcare including the ban on pre-existing conditions and the ability to keep one’s child on your health insurance until they are 26, proposals that the American people overwhelmingly support, that’s definitely changed, at least with this post.

27% of Americans have pre-exisisting conditions.

(If you want your heart completely broken click on the Twitter hashtag #the27percent)

What the Republicans are proposing instead of a ban on pre-existing conditions  that exists now in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is something called “high risk pools.” This is an abominable idea.

Obamacare: The dirty little Secret of “repeal and replace, by Walecia Konrad, CBS News, January 12, 2017

“For sick patients who cannot continue coverage, (Paul) Ryan’s plan calls for a return to state-run high-risk pools. These pools allow sick people to buy insurance separately, while states, insurers and the federal government help subsidize the cost. The president-elect’s website says he supports risk pools.

“Risk pools have a long and controversial past. Before the ACA was passed, 35 states ran risk pools for people with preexisting conditions ranging from cancer and diabetes to more minor afflictions such as arthritis or eczema. Premiums for risk pool coverage were as much as 250 percent more than a healthy person would pay for individual insurance, and some states, overwhelmed with sick patients, had wait lists for coverage or imposed other restrictions, said Fish-Parcham (Cheryl Fish-Parcham).

“Going back to risk pools is going back to the bad old days,” she said.

Expense wasn’t the only problem. Even when the few patients who could afford it paid ultrahigh premiums, coverage was often lacking. It wasn’t unusual for people with a preexisting condition to wait six months to a year before coverage for that condition would kick in, Fish-Parcham  explained.

Or there might be a lifetime maximum on the benefit related to a preexisting condition, she added. So, if you had a stroke and needed a year of rehab, your insurance might not have covered the entire bill.

Ryan’s plan would ban wait lists and put a cap on risk pool premiums. In addition, he’s calling for $25 billion in federal funding to help states pay for risk pools. But many health care experts wonder if that’s enough to cover the number of estimated people with preexisting conditions.

“High-risk pools served only 1 percent of the population back in 2008,” said Fish-Parcham. That wasn’t anywhere near the number of people who needed coverage but couldn’t afford it, she noted, adding: “Risk pools simply didn’t work.”

The link to the article can be found here.

The other thing is the Repeal of the ACA effects everyone.

Andy Slavitt who has been the Acting Administrator at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid put out this astounding bullet-point “document” on his Twitter feed the other day. It’s called the “Am I impacted by ACA repeal?” Checklist, the link can be found here.

Here is the “Am I impacted by the ACA repeal?” Checklist that went up on Twitter

The Impact of Repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA)
The Impact of Repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA)

Here is the checklist with links, that went up on Twitter.  A document with the links can be found here.

The Impact of Repealing the ACA with links
The Impact of Repealing the ACA with links

And here is the transcription of the checklist. And yes, everyone will be impacted by the Republican Replace and Repeal of the ACA.

“Am I impacted by the ACA repeal?” Checklist

Repealing ACA means:

* Small businesses, farms, self-employed (20% of exchange coverage, several million)

* 127 million Americans with pre-existing conditions

* Seniors — medicare beneficiaries have saved $2000/year on RX drugs from ACA

* 55-64 year olds who will see rates increase dramatically, even if healthy by up to 10x

* Estimated 30 million with individual policies/Medicaid will lose them

* 2.8 million Americans with drug disorders will lose coverage

* 1.25 million with mental health disorders will lose coverage

* Vets: the 42% reduction in uninsured rate will be reversed

* Employer based coverage– 1/2 had lifetime caps before ACA (do NOT have a premature baby!)

* Bad debt will go up by $1.1 trillion. Health care bills will again lead in cause of personal bankruptcy

* Medicare Trust Fund, which was extended a decade, will have several years reduced from its expected life

* Taxpayers will lose $350 billion added to deficit, 9 trillion added to debt (but incomes > $1 million will see a TAX BREAK of $57K)

* 2.6 million lost jobs (health care service and construction jobs in small communities)

* Families who will have a baby

* Anyone who likes free preventive services like mammograms better than cancer treatment

* Young adults (31 million on parents’ plan). 18-26 YO in most states will be kicked off

* Anyone who loses their job and think COBRA is too expensive with limited options

* Women who want to buy health insurance will pay more than men in premiums

* 105 million had lifetime limits on what insurance companies pay

There are a few clear winners…

* Insurance companies will no longer have to devote at least 80% of premiums to
medical claims

* Debt collectors will have more business

* BIG tax break to high earners

Source: Andy Slavitt on Twitter

And here is a list of Pre-Existing Conditions before the ACA for which you were denied coverage (this is only a partial list).

Pre-Existing Condition Rejection List before the ACA
Pre-Existing Condition Rejection List before the ACA

Newburyport, There Once was a Railroad Station on Pond Street where CVS is Now

Back in September when I did a story on 7 Pond Street I discovered all sorts of things about Pond Street and the Bartlet Mall that I never knew before. And one of those things is that there was once a railroad station where CVS is now located.

The 1851 Map of Frog Pond

1851 Map, Frog Pond, Newburyport, MA
1851 Map, Frog Pond, Newburyport, MA

In the 1851 Map of Frog Pond there are a bunch of houses between Frog Pond and Pond Street.

The 1872 map showing the Railroad depot.

1872 Map showing Frog Pond and the Rail Road
1872 Map showing Frog Pond and the Rail Road

In the 1872 map most of those houses still exist, but low and behold there is a train depot across the street where CVS is now located.

Detail of the 1872 map

1872 Map, detail, Rail Road, Pond and Greenleaf Street
1872 Map, detail, Rail Road, Pond and Greenleaf Street

The 1924 map of Pond Street

1924 Map of Pond Street
1924 Map of Pond Street

And in the 1924 map the houses between Frog Pond and Pond Street are now gone, but the building where CVS is now is still there.

A map of the rail road routes into and out of Newburyport, from Scott’s Railroad Archaeology Page

A map of the rail road routes into and out of Newburyport, from Scott's Railroad Archaeology Page
A map of the rail road routes into and out of Newburyport, from Scott’s Railroad Archaeology Page

Fortunately Joe Callahan wrote an article in the Newburyport Daily News in 2009 with lots of information about the railroad station. Joe wrote that around 1853 the Boston and Maine Railroad took over the operation of the Newburyport Railroad Company and both passenger and freight service existed. The passenger depot building faced Pond Street and the Bartlet Mall.  Around 1884 passenger service stopped on Pond Street and the depot was used only for freight.

This is a photograph of the Pond Street Depot from the New York Public Library.

Pond Street Depot from the New York Public Library
Pond Street Depot from the New York Public Library

Pond Street from the New York Public Library, The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Photography Collection, The New York Public Library. “Pond St.” The New York Public Library Digital Collections.

Detail of the passenger station depot with houses across the street courtesy of the New York Public Library

Detail of the passenger station depot with houses across the street, New York Public Library
Detail of the passenger station depot with houses across the street, New York Public Library

Second detail with the houses across the street (that are on the map) from the New York Public Library

Detail of the passenger station depot with houses across the street, New York Public Library
Detail of the passenger station depot with houses across the street, New York Public Library

The New York Public Library also has this photograph of the Pond Street houses.

Pond Street houses, courtesy of the New York Public Library

Pond Street houses, courtesy of the New York Public Library
Pond Street houses, courtesy of the New York Public Library

And yes indeed they match exactly the photograph that we have in the Newburyport Public Library of the houses that once belonged to Stephen Hooper (see earlier post).

Pond Street houses courtesy of the Newburyport Archival Center

Pond Street houses courtesy of the Newburyport Archival Center
Pond Street houses courtesy of the Newburyport Archival Center

All of which is pretty cool.

And the Newburyport Public Library also has a photograph of the B&M Passenger Station in the Archival Center.

Passenger station courtesy of the Newburyport Archival Center

Passenger station courtesy of the Newburyport Archival Center.
Passenger station courtesy of the Newburyport Archival Center.

A second photograph of the train station across from Frog Pond courtesy of the Newburyport Archival Center.

Passenger station, Pond Street, courtesy of the Newburyport Archival Center
Passenger station, Pond Street, courtesy of the Newburyport Archival Center

By 1921 the train station looks like it had fallen on harder times. This photograph is from a book published in 1921, “The Boston and Maine Railroad; a history of the main road, with its tributary lines,” by Francis Boardman Crowninshield Bradlee.

The Newburyport train station in 1921

The Newburyport train station in 1921
The Newburyport train station in 1921

Joe Callahan writes that, “The original passenger depot building that faced on Pond Street was purchased in 1928 by “Bossy” Gillis and moved to Dalton Street. It was demolished several years later.”

On February 21, 1935,  according to Joe, “The new B&M “Flying Yankee” streamliner arrived at the Pond Street yard and opened for public inspection. The Daily News reported 6,000 people boarded and viewed its lavish interior.”

The Flying Yankee was a very big deal.

Photograph of the Flying Yankee

Photograph of the Flying Yankee
Photograph of the Flying Yankee

A ticket for the Flying Yankee between Boston and Newburyport

A ticket for the Flying Yankee between Boston and Newburyport
A ticket for the Flying Yankee between Boston and Newburyport

A menu for the Flying Yankee

A menu for the Flying Yankee
A menu for the Flying Yankee

There was no kitchen or dining car for food preparation on the train, passengers ate at their seats with trays similar to airline service. The food for the train was provided by the Armstrong Company.

The Boston and Maine Timetable  1943

The Boston and Maine Timetable 1943
The Boston and Maine Timetable 1943

According to Joe, “There was an old wooden roundhouse at the Pond Street yard, and upon the elimination of the passenger service, it was moved to face Greenleaf Street. In March 1908, Glen Mills Cereal Company of Rowley leased the structure and operated for many years making flour. The mill, under different owners, ceased operations in the early 1940s. Both Hytron and C. Leary Bottling Company leased the building for storage for many years following the mill operations.”

Joe writes that, “Back in the 1940s, there were always 10 or 12 freight cars at the depot. New cars arrived almost daily and were immediately unloaded.” And  “With the decline of the railroads in the 1950s, the Pond Street site was closed and sold to the First National Supermarket chain. The last freight train out of Pond Street was in late 1954.

The freight house and the mill were demolished in the summer of 1955 and the tracks removed then as well. The First National opened in October 1956, expanded with an addition in April 1968 and closed in July 1980. A couple other food stores operated for short periods of time, but were unsuccessful before giving way to the busy CVS.”

Captain John Robinson (maybe of Newburyport) – a Mystery

 

Captain John Robinson of Newburyport, MA, , Courtesy of The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore, MD
Captain John Robinson of Newburyport, MA, Courtesy of The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore, MD

Captain John Robinson of Newburyport, MA, Courtesy of The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore, MD

In my search for Newburyport stories I came across this portrait of Captain John Robinson. It is a gorgeous miniature, now in The Walters Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland.

It is a watercolor on ivory, painted by an unknown, but immensely talented artist of the “American School” sometime around 1800-1825. And it says “Captain John Robinson of Newburyport, Massachusetts.” How excited was I when I found it? Very excited. A portrait of an obviously very wealthy, really good looking, downright handsome captain with a clipper ship in the background. I thought to myself, there has got to be a great story here, right? There probably is an amazing story about this good-looking gentleman, but none that I could find anywhere, and I’ve looked and looked and looked.

Usually our Newburyport historians that I’ve discovered doing this “Newburyport Stories” thing love to brag about wealthy, famous people who have lived in our city. Frankly, our historians are reasonably shameless when it comes to the bragging part, so I figured, no problem, Captain Robinson is going to appear all over the place – but nada, zilch, zero.

I finally came to the conclusion that Captain Robinson probably might not have even lived in Newburyport. The description on the museum’s website says that Newburyport was the “Place of Origin” for the beautiful oval painting.

1937 catalogue which includes the sale of the miniature of Captain John Robinson
1937 catalogue which includes the sale of the miniature of Captain John Robinson

1937 catalogue which includes the sale of the miniature of Captain John Robinson

I was able to trace to origins of a sale back of this object to 1937. I found it in a catalogue of the American Art Association, Anderson Gallery Inc, a public sale of lots of things including rare historical miniatures. The collector was a man by the name of Herbert Lawton, a wealthy woolens merchant from Boston, born in 1868, who collected a ton of very valuable stuff. Almost no information to be found about Mr. Lawton either.  I did find a copy of the catalogue online. 1937 was in the middle of the depression, so the sale of this wonderful miniature may have possibly been part of a liquidation process.  I included a copy of the catalogue because I thought it was so interesting. There is Captain John Robinson, of Newburyport, Mass along with an oval of George Washington.

Who is this mysterious person, if anyone has any clues, please let me know.

Wedding Dress Worn by Nathaniel Carter’s Bride, Mary Beck, Newburyport 1742

Wedding dress worn by Nathaniel Carter's Bride, Mary Beck, Newburyport 1742
Wedding dress worn by Nathaniel Carter’s Bride, Mary Beck, Newburyport 1742

Wedding dress worn by Mary Beck at her marriage to Nathaniel Carter, Newburyport, Massachusetts, September 1, 1742, the Museum of Fine Arts, MFA, Boston

Detail of the wedding dress
Detail of the wedding dress

Detail of the wedding dress

Detail of the shoes and wedding dress.
Detail of the shoes and wedding dress.

Detail of the shoes and wedding dress

 The formal wedding announcement of the marriage of Nathaniel Carter to Mary Beck
The formal wedding announcement of the marriage of Nathaniel Carter to Mary Beck

The formal wedding announcement of the marriage of Nathaniel Carter to Mary Beck

I found this wedding dress by chance, and I recognized the name. Nathaniel Carter was Rev. Thomas Cary’s father-in-law (see earlier post). Thomas Cary married Nathaniel Carter’s daughter Esther Carter in 1775.

After I wrote the post I discovered a deed from 1775 to Thomas Cary and his wife from Mr. Carter.

Here is a transcript of part of the 1775 deed (Page: 134 & Book: 148) from Nathaniel Carter “in consideration of the love and affection I bear to my son-in-law Thomas Cary and to Esther his wife my daughter land lying in Newbury-Port containing about two and a quarter acres with the dwelling house barn thereon on a highway called High Street”  dated August 12, 1775.

Deed to Thomas and Esther Cary from Nathaniel Carter 1775
Deed to Thomas and Esther Cary from Nathaniel Carter 1775

Deed to Thomas and Esther Cary from Nathaniel Carter

Nathaniel Carter was born in 1715 and died in 1798.  He was a wealthy Newburyport merchant* and a large landowner. He married Mary Beck in 1742 and had 9 children, Esther was one of his daughters.

Nathaniel was one of the people who urged Newburyport to become a separate town from Newbury in 1764. He was Newburyport’s first treasurer. Carter was interested in education — two writing schools and one Latin grammar school for boys. One schoolhouse was on the upper side of Winter Street (near where the Kelly School building is), and the other was on School Street (land where the Jackman School once stood). He was  was one of nine people who petitioned for a bridge crossing the Merrimac River at Deer Island.  He owned land in what was then referred to as the “old part of town” as well as large tracts of land in Newburyport near the Deer Island. He owned land on High Street between Broad and Carter Street which extended slightly past what is now Munroe Street (I would imagine that Carter Street is named after him) and between Carter and Buck Streets.**

The Diary of John Quincy Adams
The Diary of John Quincy Adams

In the Diary of John Quincy Adams (September 13, 1787) I found his account of dining with Nathaniel Carter:

“Dined with Dr. Kilham at Mr. Carter’s. This is a very friendly, obliging old gentleman, about 73 years of age, as I collected from his conversation: he is very sociable, and is a great genealogist. He gave me a much more circumstantial account of my ancestry, for four or five generations back, than I had ever known before, and I am told he can give the same kind of information to almost any body else. He has two sons with him, both I believe between 25 and 30 years old and one daughter: one of his daughters was married in the beginning of the summer, to Mr. W. Smith of Boston and his eldest son, proposes to be married in the spring to Miss Eppes Cutts, who has made her appearance heretofore in this journal. Her sister, Miss Nancy Cutts is now upon a visit at Mr. Carter’s, and dined with us. I think she is handsomer, and that her manners are easier than those of her Sister. How the comparison might be, in mental qualifications I am not able to decide.” *

Signature of John Quincy Adams
Signature of John Quincy Adams

Signature of John Quincy Adams

The actual page from John Quincy Adams Diary describing his account of dining with Nathaniel Carter
The actual page from John Quincy Adams Diary describing his account of dining with Nathaniel Carter ***

The actual page from John Quincy Adams Diary describing his account of dining with Nathaniel Carter ***

Unfortunately I could not find any portraits of either Nathaniel or his wife, and was not able to figure out where they lived in Newburyport. He was a contemporary of Patrick Tracy who built Tracy Mansion (the Newburyport Public Library).

This wonderful wedding dress was, by happy circumstance, what I discovered.

_____________________________________________________________________________________

* Diary of John Quincy Adams, Volume 2, September 13, 1787, Founding Families: Digital Editions of the Papers of the Winthrops and the Adamses, ed.C. James Taylor. Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society, 2016.   http://www.masshist.org/apde2/

** “North End Papers 1618-1880, Newburyport, Massachusetts: Development of the North End of the City” by Oliver B. Merrill, Originally published in the Newburyport Daily News 1906 &1908, transcribed by Margaret Peckham Motes 2007

***  John Quincy Adams diary 11, 1 July 1786 – 31 October 1787, page 337 [electronic edition]. The Diaries of John Quincy Adams: A Digital Collection. Boston, Mass. : Massachusetts Historical Society, 2004. http://www.masshist.org/jqadiaries

Original manuscript: Adams, John Quincy. John Quincy Adams diary 11, 1 July 1786 – 31 October 1787. 2 + 377 pages (2 unnumbered pages, including handwritten title page, preceed numbered pages; pages 1-134, and 137-376 are numbered, pages 135-136 are blank and unnumbered, page 377 is unnumbered). Page dimensions: 17.2 cm x 12.1 cm (6-3/4 x in. 4-3/4 in.). Original manuscript from the Adams Family Papers, Massachusetts Historical Society.

A 2003 grant from Save America’s Treasures, “Conservation of the Diary of President John Quincy Adams,” enabled the Massachusetts Historical Society to clean and deacidify soiled and brittle pages of the original manuscript volumes and to repair pages with paper loss, tears, or holes. Loose sheets of paper were hinged and tipped-in, and loose signatures were resewn. A conservation bookbinder repaired broken and damaged spines and covers on twenty-five of the fifty-one volumes. Because all of the bindings are original to John Quincy Adams, the conservation treatment was minimally invasive, because the diaries are artifacts worthy of study in their own right. The diary volumes now are stored in microchamber cases.

 

Tamsen Donner, 50 Milk Street, a Pioneer Woman, and the Wheelwrights were Actually Carpetbaggers

A couple of people asked me to look into Tamsen Donner, I had never ever heard of her. And along the way I found out a few things about “the Wheelwrights” of Newburyport.

Tamsen was related to the Wheelwrights. Please bear with me.

Jeremiah Wheelwright (born 1732) married Mary Davis (born 1737) (of Gloucester) .

They had a bunch of children including:

Abraham (born 1757) (who is a very big deal in Newburyport, he built 77 High Street.)
Ebenezer  (born 1763) (father of William Wheelwright , who is a very big deal in Newburyport, he owned 75 High Street.)
Tamsen (born 1801)

75 and 77 High Street, Courtesy of Library of Congress, Historic American Buildings Survey,  Frank O. Branzetti, Photographer, Nov. 19, 1940

75 and 77 High Street, Courtesy of Library of Congress, Historic American Buildings Survey, Frank O. Branzetti, Photographer, Nov. 19, 1940
75 and 77 High Street, Courtesy of Library of Congress, Historic American Buildings Survey, Frank O. Branzetti, Photographer, Nov. 19, 1940

Jeremiah is first a school teacher and then an explorer, he died in 1778 in Gloucester or died of exposure in a campaign in Canada (there are conflicting accounts).*  His widow, Mary, “removed, with her family” from Gloucester to Newburyport. **3*  “The Wheelwrights” who have enhanced our city in so many ways, moved from Gloucester — and they, in today’s Newburyport terms, were carpetbaggers.  Mary died in 1822 at the age of 85.

The daughter, Tamsen, married William Eustis in 1785 and they lived in Newburyport. They had a daughter also named Tamsen born in 1801, who eventually married George Donner in 1839. So Tamsen Eustis Donner is the niece of Abraham Wheelwright and the cousin of William Wheelwright.

There has been some question as to where Tamsen Donner was born. I was told by a friend that she was born on Milk Street. And yup, my friend was right. I was able to trace the deed of 50 Milk Street back to Tamsen’s father, Willimam Eustis. And in the book, “Searching for Tamsen Donner,”** the author Gabrielle Burton mentions that Betsy Woodman had also told her that Tamsen was born at 50 Milk Street. So 50 Milk Street is a pretty significant place.

50 Milk Street, Newburyport

50 Milk Street, Newburyport
50 Milk Street, Newburyport

Tamsen Donner

Who is Tamsen Donner?  Tamsen Donner is a heroine in the infamous “Donner Party,” a group of 87 pioneers who set out for California in a wagon train in 1846 and became trapped in the winter of 1846-1847 in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, what is now known as the  Donner Pass, and 39 people died. Some of the pioneers resorted to cannibalism to survive in what has been described as “one of the most bizarre and spectacular tragedies in Californian history and western-US migration.” ***

“In 1836 she (Tamsen) journeyed to the home of her brother in Illinois (after she had lost her first husband and and child in North Carolina to influenza in 1831) to teach his motherless children, remaining with his family for one winter before obtaining a teaching position in a school in Auburn, Ill. The following year she moved to the school at Sugar Creek where she met George Donner, whose home was near Springfield. Donner, a native of Rowan County, N.C., was a wealthy and respected man, twice widowed with young children still in the home. They were married on 24 May 1839, and in the following years Tamsen Donner bore three daughters, Frances (4 July 1840), Georgia (3 Dec. 1841), and Eliza (8 Mar. 1843).

Tamsen Donner was an intelligent woman, proficient in mathematics, geometry, and philosophy; she was fluent in French, an avid botanist, a competent painter, and a writer of prose and poetry. She is described as a small woman, five feet in height with a usual weight of ninety-six pounds, richly but quietly dressed, gracious, and charming. She and her husband were members of the German Prairie Christian Church near Springfield

It is somewhat surprising that the Donner family chose to leave their wealth in Sangamon County, Ill., to undertake a hazardous journey by wagon to California in 1846. George was sixty-two years old; Tamsen was forty-four with three small children and two stepdaughters. In early May George, his brother, Jacob, and their families left Independence, Mo., with a sizable train and traveled west during the summer with little difficulty. Nearing the end of their journey, they were beset by bad judgment and weather and were snowed in near what is now called the Donner Pass. Nearly half of the travelers died from exposure and starvation during the winter of 1846–47. Those who survived resorted to cannibalism.

Although small in stature, Mrs. Donner remained in good health and able to care for her family. Her daughters were rescued by search parties, but she refused to leave her husband who was dying from an infected wound. She was last seen by members of the third rescue party. The fourth and last group found only one person alive in the camps. There was no trace of Tamsen Donner’s body. She is presumed to have died between 26 March and 17 April 1847, approximately one year after leaving her home in Illinois.” ****

Tamsen Donner is the heroine of this story because she chose to send her children on with the last rescue party, and stayed with her husband while he was dying, a choice that meant certain death for Tamsen. **2*

A portrait of Georgia A. Donner, one of the surviving children from “History of the Donner Party: a Tragedy of the Sierra” by Charles Fayette McGlashan, 1880

A portrait of Georgia A. Donner, one of the surviving children from "History of the Donner Party: a Tragedy of the Sierra" by Charles Fayette McGlashan, 1880
A portrait of Georgia A. Donner, one of the surviving children from “History of the Donner Party: a Tragedy of the Sierra” by Charles Fayette McGlashan, 1880

The Donner Memorial State Park, the site of the Donner Camp where the Donner Party was trapped has been designated as a National Historic Landmark, commemorating the greatest mass migration in American history in the 1840s and 1850s, enticed by the California Gold Rush, where over 250,000 gold-seekers and farmers traveled overland for the gold fields and rich farmlands of California — the Emigrant Trail. The park contains the Emigrant Trail Museum.

The plaque for Tamsen and Elizabeth Donner

The plaque for Tamsen and Elizabeth Donner
The plaque for Tamsen and Elizabeth Donner

The plaque for Tamsen and Elizabeth Donner in part reads, Near this site, in the winter of 1846, two pioneer woman gave up their lives for their families. however most of their children survived to carry their mother’s dreams of a new life and new beginning to the valleys of California.

An inspiration to all who followed their footsteps across the Sierra Nevada Mountains, we herein honor the memory and the sacrifices of these two women in opening California to its destiny.

Wagon Train on the Emigrant Trail

Wagon Train on the Emigrant Trail
Wagon Train on the Emigrant Trail

* “The Wheelwright Family Story, by Steve J. Plummer” 2010

** “Searching for Tamsen Donner” by Gabrielle Burton, 2009

*** “History of the Donner Party: a Tragedy of the Sierra” by Charles Fayette McGlashan, 1880

**** “Dictionary of North Carolina Biography” by Martha Nel Hardy, University of North Carolina Press

**2* Tamsen Donner Letters: From dream to Legacy
http://www.thestormking.com/Donner_Party/Tamsen_Donner_Letters/tamsen_donner_letters.html

**3* “Ould Newbury: Historical and Biographical Sketches” by John James Currier

Tamsen Donner, Newburyport

Ethel Reed, 53 Kent Street, A Rediscovered Artist of the 1890s and a Great Beauty

This has got to be another one of my favorite stories. Ethel Reed, born in Newburyport, I had never heard of her, and what an intriguing story.

Ethel was born in Newburyport in 1874, her father was Edgar Eugene Reed who married Mary Elizabeth Mahoney.  Edgar is listed in the Newburyport City Directory as living at 41 Kent Street which today is 53 Kent Street (a big thank you to the Newburyport Assessors Office for helping me figure out the exact location of where Ethel lived).

53 Kent Street, Newburyport
53 Kent Street, Newburyport, Google Maps

53 Kent Street, Newburyport, Google Maps

Her father’s obituary describes him as a “Well Known and Popular Photographer.” Ethel and her family either lived with her father’s family on Kent Street or rented the house.

Very recently Ethel Reed has been “rediscovered.” There is a biography of her now by William Peterson.*  I would disagree with Mr. Peterson’s description of the bleakness of Ethel’s early life in Newburyport and the desolation that he describes of Newburyport in general. I ended up with the opinion that Mr. Peterson understands very little about Newburyport, not much about artists (I am one) and very little about women (I am one of those too).

(One of the things that I have discovered looking into all these Newburyport stories is that people often rented houses. In another hunt, in 1836 I found two advertisements for fancy houses on High Street “To be Let,” i.e. rented, with a mention of the people who were currently renting them. One of the other things that I’ve found in all this research is that multi-generations of families, with their children’s spouses and their children lived in the same house. Lots of people lived in one house, unlike today. “Boarders” who are often listed in the Newburyport City Directories were often family members — Abbie Foster, her husband Daniel, and her sister Helen all lived with her mother at 14 Spring Street, and there are just tons of examples.)

Ethel’s life on Kent Street might not have been quite as horrible as Mr. Peterson speculates. There is a glorious sketch of Ethel by none other than Laura Coombs Hill in 1880 when Ethel was 6 years old. The drawing is in the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston — the MFA, really!

Ethel Reed, by Laura Coombs Hill, 1880, 10 x 7 3/4 inches Wash and chalk on paper, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Ethel Reed, by Laura Coombs Hill, 1880, 10 x 7 3/4 inches
Wash and chalk on paper, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Ethel Reed, by Laura Coombs Hill, 1880, 10 x 7 3/4 inches
Wash and chalk on paper, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

In 1890 Ethel and her mother apparently went to Boston (her father died in 1892). The Smithsonian Art Museum has this description of Ethel Reed (yup, the Smithsonian–the Smithsonian, I’m not kidding!).

Ethel Reed, Photograph by Frances Benjamin Johnston, courtesy of the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 1897
Ethel Reed, Photograph by Frances Benjamin Johnston, courtesy of the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 1897

Ethel Reed, Photograph by  Frances Benjamin Johnston, courtesy of the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 1897

“(Ethel) Reed briefly attended art school in Boston but was largely self-trained. Her circle included artists and writers in both Boston and London. She posed for photographs by Frances Benjamin Johnston and F. Holland Day, and she provided illustrations forThe Yellow Book, an avant-garde British periodical. One of the most talented and prolific artists of the 1890s, she made her name during the poster craze of the period. She produced book illustrations, cover designs, and more than 25 posters, mostly in just two years, 1895 and 1896. Her creative burst earned her international recognition and she traveled to Europe and completed a few commissions for British publications through about 1898. Then she disappeared from the historical record.” **

A poster by Ethel Reed, The house of the trees and other poems by Ethelwyn Wetherald Boston : Lamson, Wolffe, 1895, courtesy of the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C
A poster by Ethel Reed, The house of the trees and other poems by Ethelwyn Wetherald
Boston : Lamson, Wolffe, 1895, courtesy of the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C

A poster by Ethel Reed, The house of the trees and other poems by Ethelwyn Wetherald
Boston : Lamson, Wolffe, 1895, courtesy of the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C 

There was an art show in Washington DC in 1896 mostly containing Ethel’s art work. The Washington Post describes Ethel Reed as “the foremost woman poster maker in America” and “one of the most beautiful women Washington has seen in ages.” *

"The Gainsborough hat" Photograph showing a woman (Ethel Reed), head-and-shoulders portrait, facing front, wearing a plumed hat, by F. Holland Day, 1895, courtesy of the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C
“The Gainsborough hat” Photograph showing a woman (Ethel Reed), head-and-shoulders portrait, facing front, wearing a plumed hat, by F. Holland Day, 1895, courtesy of the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C

“The Gainsborough hat”
Photograph showing a woman (Ethel Reed), head-and-shoulders portrait, facing front, wearing a plumed hat, by F. Holland Day, 1895, courtesy of the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C

Helena Wright, the curator of the Graphic Arts Division at the Smithsonian Art Museum says that the Smithsonian Art Museum has a significant collection of Ethel Reed’s art work, including some of her earliest posters and a few unpublished designs. They were donated by Commander Charlotte Hume, U.S. Navy. The collection descended through Hume’s great-aunts, the Smith sisters of Newburyport, who knew Reed in the 1890s, but they lost touch when she moved to London. Reed presented the Smiths with her first posters soon after they were issued. Many are signed and dated in Reed’s distinctive, bold hand, “Compliments of Ethel Reed.” **

A poster by Ethel Reed, The Boston Sunday Herald, Ladies Want It, courtesy of the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C
A poster by Ethel Reed, The Boston Sunday Herald, Ladies Want It, courtesy of the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C

A poster by Ethel Reed, The Boston Sunday Herald, Ladies Want It, courtesy of the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C
(This was  Ethel Reed’s first poster.**)

Ethel ended up getting engaged to Philip Leslie Hale who was from a prominent, very stuffy Boston family. It appears that the family did not approve of the engagement which was broken off.  Philip and Ethel apparently had been planning to go to Paris for their honeymoon and Ethel took off to Paris without him. She ended up living in London, and nothing much is known about her from that time. Apparently she died in 1912 at the age of 36.  Her biographer speculates that opium, alcohol and sleeping medication contributed to her death.*

A photograph of Ethel Reed by Frances Benjamin Johnston, courtesy of the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 1896
A photograph of Ethel Reed by Frances Benjamin Johnston, courtesy of the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 1896

A photograph of Ethel Reed by Frances Benjamin Johnston, courtesy of the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 1896

* “The Beautiful Poster Lady, A Life of Ethel Reed” by William S. Peterson, Oak Knoll Press, 2013

** Biography on the Smithsonian website by Helena E. Wright, the Curator of Graphic Arts in the Division of Culture and the Arts at the Smithsonian Art Museum

Ethel Reed, Newburyport, Art and Beauty

Clarence Fogg, Mayor of Newburyport 1915-1916

The portrait of Clarence Fogg, hanging in Newburyport City Hall
The portrait of Clarence Fogg, hanging in Newburyport City Hall

The portrait of Clarence Fogg, hanging in Newburyport City Hall

In my hunt for forgotten folks in Newburyport and where they lived, I came across Clarence Fogg. Mr. Fogg was born in 1853 (that would make him slightly younger, 7 years, than Abbie Foster, see earlier post, who was born in 1846) and died in 1936 at the age of 83. As a young man he was a sailor “at which time he visited most of the principal seaports of the world.” *  When he came back home he worked as a shoe cutter in the Dodge shoe factory.

And in 1896 there is this lovely account of in the Newburyport Daily News about a birthday party given for Clarence’s son.

Raiised A Flag. Clarence Fogg Celebrated Birthday Anniversary in Patriotic Manner

There was a flag raising on Milk street Saturday afternoon when the youngest son of Mr. and Mrs. Clarence Fogg  celebrated his 10th birthday. There were about 50 people present and Capt. William Reed was master of ceremonies.

Miss Tula, daughter of Prentiss Reed, spoke several appropriate selections. Mr. Fogg had erected a large flag pole in his yard while the party sang the “Star Spangled Banner,” a beautiful American flag was unfurled from the top mast. After the flag raising a lunch was served and a merry time was enjoyed.” **

A Clipping from the Newburyport Daily News June 22, 1896
A Clipping from the Newburyport Daily News June 22, 1896

Clipping from the Newburyport Daily News June 22, 1896

The Newburyport City Directory shows that Clarence Fogg lived in what was then numbered as 33 Milk Street, it is numbered 43 Milk Street today (a big thank you to our Newburyport Assessors Office for helping me figure that out).

43 Milk Street, Newburyport
43 Milk Street, Newburyport

43 Milk Street, Newburyport

Clarence became involved in Newburyport city and Massachusetts state government. He was elected to the old common council in 1900 and served the next year on the board of alderman.* He served in the Massachusetts House of Representatives (then called the Massachusetts General Court) from 1902 to 1908.  And in 1915 and 1916 he was elected as the Mayor of Newburyport.

The Newburyport City Directory has Clarence Fogg living at 110 State Street during the time that he was mayor.

110 State Street, Newburyport
110 State Street, Newburyport, Google Maps

110 State Street, Newburyport

Clarence Fogg, courtesy of the Newburyport Archival Center
Clarence Fogg, courtesy of the Newburyport Archival Center

Clarence Fogg, courtesy of the Newburyport Archival Center

* The Newburyport Daily News, September 28, 1936
** The Newburyport Daily News, June 22, 1896

And a big “thank you” to Ghlee Woodworth for helping me locate Clarence Fogg’s portrait at Newburyport City Hall

An Old Photo of Abbie Foster’s House, 74 High Street, looking towards Horton Street

An old photo of 74 High Street Courtesy of the Newburyport Archival Center
An old photo of 74 High Street Courtesy of the Newburyport Archival Center

An old photo of 74 High Street Courtesy of the Newburyport Archival Center

Sharon Spieldenner from the Archival Center at the Newburyport Library (I love, love, love the Archival Center) found an old photo of Abbie Foster’s house and sent it to me. There are two posts on Abbie Foster one all about her and that she built this fancy mansion at 74 High Street in 1895, and a second one on how she came up with the money to pay for her glorious Queen Anne fancy mansion.

Sharon didn’t know the exact date of the old photo of 74 High, but it looks like it’s early. I love it, I think it’s so cool, so wonderful and so thoughtful of Sharon and the Archival Center to keep their eyes open for Abbie’s house.

And this is what 74 High Street looks like today.

What 74 High Street looks like today
What 74 High Street looks like today

What 74 High Street looks like today

There is a little street behind 74 High  called Foster Court, named after Abbie Foster, that looks towards Horton Street (and there is a post all about Horton Street on The Newburyport Blog). In the old photo there is a field, a beautiful field. Here is the detail of the photo.

A detail of the field behind 74 HIgh Street
A detail of the field behind 74 HIgh Street

A detail of the field behind 74 HIgh Street

This is what that field, now Foster Court, looks like today. It looks a little different. And you can see the same house at the very end that is in the old photo, which is 9 Horton Street. (It is possible to make out two other houses that look  the same as well.)

Looking towards Horton Street today
Looking towards Horton Street today

Looking towards Horton Street today

And here is a closeup of 9 Horton Street today. It’s almost exactly the same as when it was built in 1890. I love it.

9 Horton Street today
9 Horton Street today

 9 Horton Street today

And here is photo of 76 High Street which is on the left of the old photo. It looks to me as if it is the same house and has been expanded.

76 High Street
76 High Street

76 High Street

And here is a detail of the edge of the old photograph from the Archival Center with 76 High Street on it.

A detail of the photograph with the side of 76 High Street
A detail of the photograph with the side of 76 High Street

A detail of the photograph with the side of 76 High Street

And here is a detail with the house itself.

Detail of 74 High Street
Detail of 74 High Street

Detail of the photograph of 74 High Street with just the house

Rev. Thomas Cary and 182 High Street, Newburyport, MA

One of the things that I liked the best about “If This House Could Talk,” which happened this summer, were the posters about the houses with portraits of people who lived or worked in them. I was so excited to find Stephen Hooper’s (see earlier post) portrait, that I thought I would start with a portrait and see if I could find a house to go with it. I Googled “Portrait, Newburyport” and came up with the name “Rev. Thomas Cary.” Rev. Cary was quite a guy, but I couldn’t find a house that he might have lived in — and that was the whole point, so I just dropped it. And then, working on another “mystery” I stumbled, out of the blue stumbled, on a deed with his name on it. It was a 1871 deed. Go figure.

The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston has a portrait by the Rev. Thomas Cary — the MFA, really. The portrait was done in 1770,  probably when he received his part of the inheritance from his father. **

 Reverend Thomas Cary of Newburyport, 1770–1773 by John Singleton Copley, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Reverend Thomas Cary of Newburyport, 1770–1773 by John Singleton Copley, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Reverend Thomas Cary of Newburyport, 1770–1773 by John Singleton Copley, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Thomas Cary was born  October 7, 1745 in Charlestown, Massachusetts. He went to Harvard with Stephen Hooper (really!!)**, and has been described as a “man of wealth.”*  Thomas became the minister of the First Church of Newburyport (now the Unitarian Church on Pleasant Street) on May 11, 1768 in the original meeting house (not the church that exists today), which was 45 by 60 feet and stood in the “market place with the steeple fronting the river and faced Fish Street” which is now State Street.* His parish was described as “the best in the port” with a membership that reached 2,000.** In 1775 he married  Esther Carter of Newburyport who died in 1779.  His second wife was Deborah Prince of Exeter, New Hampshire. He had a total of 11 children, two who survived, one from each wife.**

The top of the handwritten address that was delivered by Rev. Thomas Cary
The top of the handwritten address that was delivered by Rev. Thomas Cary

The top of the handwritten address that was delivered by Rev. Thomas Cary for the ordination of Samuel Spring as the minister of the Second Congregational Church of Newburyport on August 6, 1777, Andover-Harvard Theological Library, Harvard Divinity School

The complete handwritten 1777 address by Rev. Thomas Cary
The complete handwritten 1777 address by Rev. Thomas Cary

The complete handwritten 1777 address by Rev. Thomas Cary, Andover-Harvard Theological Library, Harvard Divinity School

In 1788 Cary had a stroke from which he partially recovered, and was assisted at the church by the Rev. John Andrews as a “colleague-pastor.”  He died on  November 24, 1808.  In a memorial Thomas was described as, “A good and respected citizen, a kind husband, a most affectionate father and a most ardent friend. He was just, candid and sincere, charitable without ostentation, affable without pride, proving his faith by his works, and looking to Jesus for his reward.” ***

I found several references that he lived on High Street, and that his funeral started at his home on High Street and proceeded to the church where he had been the minister for so many years.

An excerpt from the 1871 deed
An excerpt from the 1871 deed

An excerpt from the 1871 deed

And quite by chance I came across a 1871 deed with Rev. Thomas Cary’s name in it. ****  I was so excited. It was for a house on High Street and I matched the names Ebenezer Moseley and Edward Moseley on the deed with names on Newburyport Historic Survey for 182 High Street. It could be a match and I’m going with that.

Exterior of 182 High Street, 2007
Exterior of 182 High Street, 2007

The exterior of 182 High Street taken in 2007

Interior of 182 High Street, 2007
Interior of 182 High Street, 2007

The interior of 182 High Street taken in 2007

182 High Street was built in 1792 and Cary died in in 1808, so obviously he lived somewhere else (I have no idea where) before that. And 182 High Street is a gorgeous house, the photos are from 2007 when it was last bought. And from everything I hear, the house has been magnificently restored. I think Rev. Thomas Cary would be very pleased.

The 1775 Deed given to Thomas and Esther

And as a PS:  With some extra searching I found the 1775 deed that was given to Thomas and Esther by Esther’s father, Nathaniel Carter for what must have been a wedding present (obviously it is not the 1790 house at 182 High which was built later – a mystery on that one).

Excerpt of the 1775 Deed given to Thomas and Esther Cary from Esther’s father, Nathaniel Carter

Excerpt of the 1775 Deed to Thomas and Esther Cary from Esther's father, Nathaniel Carter
Excerpt of the 1775 Deed to Thomas and Esther Cary from Esther’s father, Nathaniel Carter

Here is a transcript of part of the 1775 deed (Page: 134 & Book: 148) from Nathaniel Carter “in consideration of the love and affection I bear to my son-in-law Thomas Cary and to Esther his wife my daughter land lying in Newbury-Port containing about two and a quarter acres with the dwelling house barn thereon on a highway called High Street”  August 12, 1775

________________________________________________________________________

At the end of Rev. Thomas Cary’s life his house was described as:

“The mansion house of said deceased with the buildings belonging to and land adjoining the same: $10,000” ($10,000 was a lot of money back then).

With a “North room, East Room, Study, East Chamber, Entry, West Chamber, South West Chamber , South Chamber, Upper chambers, South Kitchen, North Kitchen, Cellar”

(Probate Record of 1808)

Description of Rev. Thomas Cary's house 1808
Description of Rev. Thomas Cary’s house 1808

_________________________________________________________________________

*A history of the First Religious Society in Newburyport, Massachusetts,  Minnie Atkinson , 1933

** John Singleton Copley in America, Metropolitan Museum of Art , 1995

*** ‪A Sketch of the History of Newbury, Newburyport, and West Newbury, from 1635 to 1845‬, Joshua Coffin, 1845

**** Salem Deeds:  Book: 824 Pages: 124 & 125, and Book: 823 Pages 182 & 183

Riches to Rags, Alice Hooper (Fowle Cutler), Newburyport, MA

After I put up the post on Stephen Hooper (see earlier post) I got an email about his sister, a clue, which, with some research, gave me a huge glimpse/understanding of what his life must have been like back then in the second part of the 1700s.

Portrait of Alice Hooper, 1763, by John Singleton Copley
Portrait of Alice Hooper, 1763, by John Singleton Copley

Portrait of Alice Hooper (Stephen Hooper’s sister), 1763, by John Singleton Copley, The Milwaukee Art Museum

Stephen Hooper had a number of brothers and sisters, including two sisters who came to Newburyport.  Ruth, who married Tristram Dalton (The Dalton Club, that Dalton) and Alice, who first married Jacob Fowle Jr, and then as a widow married Joseph Cutler. Stephen, Alice and Ruth were the children of Robert “King” Hooper (see earlier post) the wealthiest merchant in Marblehead.

Alice Hooper Fowle Cutler is not one of those Newburyport folks who has been forgotten. A brief biography is on the website of St. Paul’s Church and she is mentioned on the website of the Clipper Heritage Trail. John Singleton Copley did a portrait of her that now hangs in the Milwaukee Art Museum, which was painted around 1763, depicting the young lady who was at that time seventeen years old, and whose portrait was painted in honor of her engagement to Jacob Fowle, Jr.

Alice moved in the same social circles as her brother Stephen Hooper, her sister Ruth (Mrs. Tristram Dalton) and their friends such as Nathaniel Tracy (Tracy mansion, the Newburyport Library, that Tracy).

I found this incredible and fascinating description of what life was like for these then “rare and important” people in Newburyport in the second half of the 1700s in Newburyport.

“Tristram Dalton, on his marriage with Miss Hooper, of Marblehead (Ruth), reached home (Newburyport) in this style: “His splendid new carriage was drawn by six white horses, decorated with white feathers; they hold four outriders, and footman and coachman dressed in new liveries.” So they rode down State Street, with the carriage-top thrown back.” *

And this extraordinary and really interesting description of Nathaniel Tracy:

“Nathaniel Tracy’s education was the best the country could afford. He was graduated at Harvard in 1769, and was in the vigor of his early manhood during the Revolution. His residence was the building on State Street now used for the Public Library, and, with his means and cultivated taste, it was one of the most attractive places in the Commonwealth. It abounded in all that heart could wish. His slaves — for that was the era of negro slavery in Massachusetts — served the guests at his tables, and they were not unfrequently the most distinguished men of this and foreign lands. His carriages, with liveried drivers, six in hand, and outriders, were such as have never been seen in the town since his day. He owned several country seats, summer retreats, hunting-grounds, and fine fish-ponds, with other conveniences and attachments such as would have become a British lord.” *

What is amazing is that Stephen Hooper’s father, Robert “King” Hooper, was bankrupt when he died. Stephen Hooper’s fortune was only a fraction of what it was when he died in 1802. Both Tristram Dalton and Nathaniel Tracy lost everything by the time that they died.  Yikes.

32 Green Street, Newburyport, MA
32 Green Street, Newburyport, MA, Google Maps

32 Green Street, Newburyport, MA

Alice and her second husband, Joseph Cutler, settled at 32 Green Street in 1787, a gorgeous Georgian three story brick building that still exists today.

According to the gentleman who emailed me, both of Alice’s husbands when they died left her with children, no fortune, and no means of support. Apparently she ran a rooming house in that beautiful building on the corner of Washington Street and Green Street as a way to make ends meet.  According to the Newburyport’s historic survey on the house, as well as the deed, in 1810, the house was divided in two, and Alice must have lived in one half and the wife and heirs of Joseph Bartlett lived in the other half.  Alice died in 1826 at the age of 81.  Alice is buried at St. Paul’s church between her two husbands, Joseph Cutler on the left and Jacob Fowle Jr on the right. ( Joseph Cutler died in 1801 and her first husband Jacob Fowle Jr died in 1778.)

Alice's grave at St Paul's Church in Newburyport, between the graves of her two husbands, Joseph Cutler on the left and Jacob Fowle Jr. on the right.
Alice’s grave at St Paul’s Church in Newburyport, between the graves of her two husbands, Joseph Cutler on the left and Jacob Fowle Jr. on the right.

Alice’s grave at St Paul’s Church in Newburyport, between the graves of  her two husbands, Joseph Cutler on the left and Jacob Fowle Jr. on the right.

* “‪Standard History of Essex County, Massachusetts‬: ‪Embracing a History of the County from Its First Settlement to the Present Time, with a History and Description of Its Towns and Cities. The Most Historic County of America‬” by  ‪Cyrus Mason Tracy‬,  ‪Henry Wheatland‬, ‪C. F. Jewett & Company‬, 1878

The Two Schoolhouses that Once were near Frog Pond on the Bartlet Mall, Newburyport, MA

The School House and Pond Street, Bartlet Mall, Newburyport, MA
The School House and Pond Street, Bartlet Mall, Newburyport, MA

When I ended up researching Pond Street, on the 1851 map there are a lot of things on Bartlet Mall which do not exist today, including two schoolhouses. I went on a hunt at the Newburyport Archival Center at the Library and I found a wealth of photos that I had never, ever seen before of Frog Pond and the Bartlet Mall. I never knew that there was one schoolhouse on the Bartlet Mall, much less two.

The photograph at the top of the post shows the school house at the “southerly end” of the Mall, the statue of George Washington in front, and at the left, the center chimney two story house where Stephen Hooper lived  (see previous post).

The 1851 map that shows the two schoolhouses and the houses along Frog Pond.

1851 Map showing the schoolhouses
1851 Map showing the schoolhouses

In 1796 the good people of Newburyport voted to build a brick schoolhouse at the “southerly end” of the Mall on land owned by the town near Frog Pond.  A second story was added to the schoolhouse in 1809.*

The 1796 Schoolhouse, from the “History of Newburyport Mass: 1764-1905, Volume 1,”  by John James Currier

The 1796 Schoolhouse
The 1796 Schoolhouse from the “History of Newburyport Mass: 1764-1905, Volume 1,” by John James Currier

The front of the 1796 School house, courtesy of the Archival Center, the Newburyport Public Library.

The 1796 Schoolhouse courtesy of the Newburyport Archival Center
The 1796 Schoolhouse courtesy of the Newburyport Archival Center

The back of the 1796 Schoolhouse, courtesy of the Archival Center, the Newburyport Public Library.  The Courthouse is in front.

The back of the 1796 School house, courtesy of the Archival Center, the Newburyport Public Library.
The back of the 1796 School house, courtesy of the Archival Center, the Newburyport Public Library.
The back of the 1796 School house, Frog Pond and the Courthouse courtesy of the Archival Center, the Newburyport Public Library.
The back of the 1796 School house, Frog Pond and the Courthouse courtesy of the Archival Center, the Newburyport Public Library.

And in 1823 a new brick school building was built on the northwesterly side of the Mall.*

The 1823 Schoolhouse, from the "History of Newburyport Mass: 1764-1905, Volume 1," by John James Currier
The 1823 Schoolhouse, from the “History of Newburyport Mass: 1764-1905, Volume 1,” by John James Currier

The windmill (that can been seen on the 1771 survey of Frog Pond) was moved near the burying ground in 1774, when the hill was cut down as a training field.*

The 1771 survey of Frog Pond from "History of Newburyport Mass: 1764-1905, Volume 1," by John James Currier
The 1771 survey of Frog Pond from “History of Newburyport Mass: 1764-1905, Volume 1,” by John James Currier

.
The statue of George Washington was given to the city in 1878 by Daniel I. Tenney, a Newburyport jeweler and silversmith, with a rededication ceremony in 1879 on George Washington’s birthday.*

In 1868 the one-story school house was destroyed by a fire. And in1883 the two-story brick schoolhouse was sold at auction and taken down the following summer. And in 1882, the house owned by Stephen Hooper (see previous post) was sold and removed.*

State and High Street with Pond Street on the left.

State and High Street with Pond Street on the left courtesy of the Newburyport Archival Center.
State and High Street with Pond Street on the left courtesy of the Newburyport Archival Center.

This is a detail of a photograph from the Archival Center at the Newburyport Library taken from State Street that shows High Street on the right and Pond Street on the left. The streets look like they are possibly dirt or gravel and not paved the way that the roads are today. The statue of George Washington and the schoolhouse are in the center.

I look at the two story schoolhouse in back of the George Washington statue and think how much we would value that building today. It breaks my heart that it was removed because I love, love, love it, and I wonder how many different ways we could think to re-purposed that beautiful building in this particular moment in time.

The houses on Frog Pond, courtesy of the Archival Center at the Newburyport Public Library.

The houses on Frog Pond, courtesy of the Archival Center at the Newburyport Public Library
The houses on Frog Pond, courtesy of the Archival Center at the Newburyport Public Library

And here are the houses that were on Frog Pond (for more detail see previous post). A lot of people, including me, wondered about the houses behind the ones on Frog Pond that were eventually taken down. And they still exist – 17 Pond Street, 19-21 Pond Street and 23 Pond Street which today, if you are standing in front of CVS are to the right towards Low Street.

17 Pond Street, 19-21 Pond Street and 23 Pond Street today.

17 Pond Street, 19-21 Pond Street and 23 Pond Street today
17 Pond Street, 19-21 Pond Street and 23 Pond Street today, Google Maps

*”History of Newburyport Mass: 1764-1905, Volume 1,”  by John James Currier

Stephen Hooper and the Houses by Frog Pond, Newburyport, MA

Detail of the 1851 Map of Newburyport showing houses on the Bartlet Mall across from where CVS is now located.

Detail of 1851 Map of Newburyport showing houses by the Bartlet Mall
Detail of 1851 Map of Newburyport showing houses by the Bartlet Mall

When I ended up researching Pond Street (see previous post), on the 1851 map there are a lot of things on Bartlet Mall which do not exist today, including houses. So I went on a hunt at the Newburyport Archival Center at the Library and I found a wealth of photos that I had never, ever seen before of Frog Pond and the Bartlet Mall, including photos of the houses that were once on the Mall by Frog Pond.

Houses Across from CVS once on the Bartlett Mall, detail courtesy of the Archival Center at the Newburyport Library.

Houses Across from CVS once by Frog Pond the Bartlet Mall, detail courtesy of the Archival Center at the Newburyport Library.
Houses Across from CVS once by Frog Pond the Bartlet Mall, detail courtesy of the Archival Center at the Newburyport Library.

And I wanted to know all about those houses, or at least something about those houses, but there is no address (somewhere on Pond Street across from CVS is not a Newburyport address). Somehow, when I Googled “Frog Pond, Newburyport” I got the name Stephen Hooper — no clue who in the world Stephen Hooper was.

I went to FamilySearch.org (which is free btw) and put in Stephen Hooper, Newburyport, which gave me a start, at least the right century, which was the 1700s.

And then I went to the new archived newspapers, which are now online, from the Archival Center, put in “Stephen Hooper” and found out that in 1856 the Newburyport Daily Herald had this to say, “Its (the Free Mason Lodge, now located on Green Street) first Master was Stephen Hooper and its second Nathaniel Tracy two eminent and wealthy merchants who will always be remembered in our history.”

A lot/most/many folks in Newburyport may know or heard of Nathaniel Tracy (as in Tracy Mansion, the Newburyport Library), but Stephen Hooper??  I’m pretty sure that Stephen Hooper is one of those folks, although he was “rare and important” at the time, has long been forgotten. So, it was time to find out who in the world Stephen Hooper was.

Somehow I figured out that Stephen Hooper and Tristram Dalton were acquainted (Tristram Dalton as in the Dalton House, The Dalton Club on State Street, that Tristram Dalton), and that Tristram had married the daughter of Marblehead’s wealthiest merchant, who turns out to have been Ruth Hooper, who was the sister of Stephen Hooper. So that means that Stephen was the son of the wealthiest merchant in Marblehead. And then, when I figured that out, things started to fall into place.

Stephen’s father was Robert “King” Hooper of Marblehead. Robert’s house is now the Marblehead Art Association, and his portrait was done by none other than John Singleton Copley, which is now in the Pennsylvania Academy for Fine Arts (museum) so we know what he looks like, and the portrait is pretty grand.

Robert “King” Hooper, by John Singleton Copley

Robert "King" Hooper, by John Singleton Copley
Robert “King” Hooper, by John Singleton Copley

I found in John James Currier’s book* this piece of information “Stephen, son of Robert Hooper, graduated at Harvard college in 1761, and came to Newbury soon after that date. He married Sarah Woodbridge October 10, 1764, owned and occupied a dwelling house on the southerly side of Frog Pond in Newburyport.”  Eureka!!

And I also found this in as essay by Martha J. McNamara** on Frog Pond,  “Domestic buildings at Frog Pond included a two-story, center-chimney house owned by Stephen Hooper.” Another Eureka!

Stephen Hooper’s two-story, center-chimney house on Frog Pond, detail courtesy of the Archival Center at the Newburyport Library. (And I think that the house is at the left in the photo at the top of the post, and the twin chimney is a later dwelling.)

Stephen Hooper's two-story, center-chimney house, detail courtesy of the Archival Center at the Newburyport Library
Stephen Hooper’s two-story, center-chimney house, detail courtesy of the Archival Center at the Newburyport Library

And then there is this map from 1771 that shows Hooper’s land on Frog Pond (which is found in both accounts by Currier and McNamara). Pretty cool. You can see the outline of Stephen Hoopers land, a drawing of his house, which would have been across from what is now CVS.

Survey by John Vinal of “Plan of land and Buildings in the Vicinity of Frog Pond,” 1771, Courtesy of the City of Newburyport.

Survey by John Vinal of "Plan of land and Buildings in the Vicinity of Frog Pond," 1771, Courtesy of the City of Newburyport.
Survey by John Vinal of “Plan of land and Buildings in the Vicinity of Frog Pond,” 1771, Courtesy of the City of Newburyport.

Who is Stephen Hooper? This is one of my favorite description of who he was, “Merchant and shipbuilder, son of Robert “King” Hooper of Marblehead, settled in Newburyport and became one of the town’s most prominent residents. Active in the West Indies trade, he was a partner in numerous privateering ventures during the Revolution. Although in 1786 he was the second richest man in Newburyport, by 1790 his net worth was only a fraction of what it once had been.” (From of all places, “The Documentary History of the Supreme Court of the United States, Volume 6,” Columbia University Press, By Maeva Marcus).

And I found a portrait of Hooper done by Henry Pelham (the stepbrother of John Singleton Copley), a miniature, set in gold,  painted in 1773, it’s a watercolor on ivory and it’s in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, I’m not kidding.

Stephen Hooper, by Henry Pelham, the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Stephen Hooper, by Henry Pelham, the Metropolitan Museum of Art
Stephen Hooper, by Henry Pelham, the Metropolitan Museum of Art

There is a portrait of Hooper’s wife by Copley, which was loaned to the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston around 1911, but it’s in a private collection, so there is no way to see what she looks like.

And Stephen Hooper moved in the rarified society of Newburyport, he “hung out” with folks like George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Aaron Burr, General Lafayette, and yet, now in 2016, it’s really, really hard to find out much of anything about Stephen Hooper, an eminent and wealthy merchant who it was thought would always be remembered in our city’s history. There is Dalton Street, the Dalton House, Tracy Mansion (the Newburyport Library) all reminders of his contemporaries, business partners, brother-in-law, friends, but no hint that I know of, that Stephen Hooper was once a “player” in Newburyport, Massachusetts.

Signature on a letter dated 1776 by Stephen Hooper

Signature on a letter dated 1776 by Stephen Hooper
Signature on a letter dated 1776 by Stephen Hooper

Piece of the envelope for the letter from Hooper, Newburyport 1776

A Piece of the envelope for the letter from Hooper, Newburyport, 1776
A Piece of the envelope for the letter from Hooper, Newburyport, 1776

*”History of Newburyport Mass: 1764-1905,” 1906, by John James Currier

**”From Common Land to Public Space: The Frog Pond and Mall at Newburyport, Massachusetts, 1765-1825″ by Martha J. McNamara, in “Shaping Communities, Perspectives in Vernacular Architecture,” The University of Tennessee Press, 1997

Romance, Politics, the Civil War Statue and a House on Pond Street, Newburyport, MA

Civil War Statue at Atkinson Common - Newburyport, MA
Atkinson Common – Newburyport, MA. Detail of a photograph by Scott Patterson of the Civil War Statue (found on flickr, the Creative Commons (CC) license)

One of the things that I love about “If This House Could Talk,” is that the stories that were told were not of Newburyport residences who Newburyport tends to think of as “rare and important,” but of folks, regular folks who had compelling stories, and people who had long been forgotten and who were remembered once more.  In looking for the next story, I was researching the Civil War statue at Atkinson Common and came across a name, “Walter B. Hopkinson,” and I thought, “Let’s find out about him.”

Atkinson Common, courtesy of the Archival Center at the Newburyport Public Library
Atkinson Common, courtesy of the Archival Center at the Newburyport Public Library

Alice Tappan Whittier Hopkinson

Walter B. Hopkinson was born in 1866 and was the son of William N. Hopkinson who served in the Civil War and lived at 339 High Street. As a very young man Walter married Alice Tappan Whittier. They lived at Bartlett Spring Farm, which if you go towards Maudslay State Park from Three Roads on Ferry Road, and go right (instead of left towards Maudslay) over the bridge, you end up where the the MerrimacK River bends towards the mouth of the river, and that is where the farm was located. It must have been gorgeous.  Alice, who was described as a “lady of rare accomplishments and universally beloved,” died in 1898, leaving young Walter Hopkinson a widow.

Where Bartlett Spring Farm would have been,
Where Bartlett Spring Farm would have been, Google Maps

Eleanor S. Hopkinson

Evidently Walter fell in love again, this time with his younger sister’s good friend Eleanor Robinson.  Walter was very much involved with the Republican party. And I found this wonderful story in The Chicago Tribune, Friday, June 22, 1900.

“THE CONVENTION BRIDE

Although Walter B. Hopkinson of Newburyport , Mass., has not attracted great attention on the floor of the Republican convention at Philadelphia, few of the delegates have the object of more interest. Mr. Hopkinson’s claim to fame lies in the fact that he brought with him to Philadelphia  the only bride who attended the convention. According to the current story Mr. Hopkinson has been engaged for several years to Miss Eleanor Robinson of Newburyport, but has had great difficulty in getting the young woman to name the day. Finally he determined on desperate measures. “I am going to be a candidate for election as a delegate to the National convention.” he said one evening. “If you will consent to fixing our marriage at an early enough date I will take you with me if I am chosen.” Miss Eleanor consented, and then Mr. Hopkinson had a bad week or two, during which time he feared he might not be successful in getting the appointment. He was finally chosen, however, and the couple ate their wedding breakfast in Philadelphia last Monday morning. After the breakfast some of the Massachusetts delegation heard how matters stood and arranged a reception, which was attended by all the Massachusetts men, including Senator Lodge, who made handsome little speech of congratulation. National Committeeman Sam Fessenden of Connecticut, and other notables. Since the reception Mrs. Hopkinson has been known as the  ‘convention bride.’ ”

The Chicago Tribune: Friday, June 22, 1900

Walter B. Hopkinson, from the 1900 Chicago Tribune
Walter B. Hopkinson, from the 1900 Chicago Tribune

Walter B. Hopkinson was the 42nd mayor of Newburyport

I found out by chance in my search that Walter B. Hopkinson also became the 42nd mayor of Newburyport from 1917-1918. Apparently at the time he was “rare and important” –  just now completely forgotten, who knew? So I went to the Archival Center at the Newburyport Public Library where they have a history, written by Todd Woodworth, of all the mayors of Newburyport, and yup, Walter B. Hopkinson turns out the be a very important person in the history of our city. Again, who knew? And how quickly “we forget.” Walter’s portrait hangs in the foyer in City Hall, right by the stairs on the right hand side as you go upstairs.

It turns out that Walter was a descendant of one of the first settlers of Newbury (this is a very big deal). He was a tea importer, employed by a Boston firm for 40 years and was president of that firm for 12 years. He was mayor of Newburyport during World War I, from 1917-1918. And he was chairman of the committee which presented the Civil War Volunteer monument at Atkinson Common to the city, as well as presenting the Civil War tablets that are there. He researched records from all over the country to make sure that the list was accurate . Walter was also a Republican delegate to the national convention in Philadelphia in 1900 and an alternate delegate in 1904. And when he died all municipal flags were flown at half-mast, and the members of the city council met at City Hall and went to the funeral together. He died in 1946.

Portraits of four mayors of Newburyport, Walter B. Hopkinson is the portrait on the lower right hand side.
Portraits of four mayors of Newburyport, Walter B. Hopkinson is the portrait on the lower right hand side.
Portrait of Walter B. Hopkinson at Newburyport City Hall
Portrait of Walter B. Hopkinson at Newburyport City Hall

7 Pond Street

Walter and Eleanor lived at Bartlett Spring Farm, and in 1905 decide to move into town. They move to a lovely Victorian Queen Anne house, built around 1881 at 7 Pond Street. What’s really interesting is that the deed is not in Walter’s name, but is in Eleanor’s name and it stays that way until she, as a widow sells the home in 1949.  It is given to Eleanor for a dollar by Chauncey Dodge of the Newburyport Dodge Shoemaking empire (the story there – I have no idea, but another instance of a woman being given a piece of property for one dollar, like Abbie Foster of 74 High Street).

7 Pond Street, Newburyport, MA
7 Pond Street, Newburyport, MA – Google Maps

Everything is Infill

I went on a map hunt for Pond Street which is by the Bartlet Mall.  In the 1851 Map of Pond Pond Street and a large area close to Frog Pond is completely undeveloped.  According to the map, there is a school house where the George Washington statue now exists. Frog Pond is a different shape, and there are houses right next to Frog Pond.

1851 MAP

1851 Map
1851 Map

In the 1872 map, the railroad had come into the area (where CVS is now), but the lot where 7 Pond Street will be built is still empty. Walter and Eleanor’s house was built around 1881 and was part of 3 plots that were sold at that time.

1872 MAP

The Mall 1872 map
The Mall 1872 map
Detail of the 1872 map
Detail of the 1872 map

The 1924 map from the Newburyport City Assessors Office shows the area completely built up, and you can see where 7 Pond Street is located, along with the other three “developments,” three other beautiful Queen Anne homes.

1924 MAP

The 1924 map
The 1924 map
Detail of the 1924 map
Detail of the 1924 map

 

How a Yankee from Newburyport Massachusetts got Involved with some Passionate People from Louisiana and Learned about the Horrific Louisiana Floods of 2016

The spirit of courage and generosity of the people of Southern Louisiana

The spirit of courage and generosity of the people of Southern Louisiana
The spirit of courage and generosity of the people of Southern Louisiana

I have a pretty obscure Mary Baker Art Facebook page, 100 “likes,” no one much goes there. However, on Friday August 26, 2016 I started to get obscene and threatening comments, messages and emails, and they were off the charts enough that I called our local Newburyport Police Department just to make me feel better (and what you are supposed to due if cyberbullying occurs, as well as make copies of what is happening, and there are a few examples of cyberbullying comments/insults in this post).

A cyberbully insult

I finally got up the courage to ask one young man who I got a message from and who looked like he was in high school, what was going on. What was going on was there was another Mary Baker from Florida who was saying hurtful things about people in Texas and Louisiana and the people of Southern Louisiana who are experiencing unbelievable horror of the August 2016 Floods.

A cyberbully insult sent in an email

I put up a short statement at the top of my obscure Mary Baker Art Facebook page explaining that I was not that Mary Baker. And I thought that would do it. The next morning when I checked, that did not do it. So I took a look around Facebook and to my horror I found that the post about the other Mary Baker had gone viral. At this time it has been shared over 16,000 times, and as far as I can tell, it seems that a large portion of the population of Louisiana knows all about Mary Baker of Florida, and they even nicknamed the hurricane that has just hit Florida after her. Yikes!

A cyberbully insult for Mary Baker

On that Saturday, August 27th I put up another clarification, that I was from Massachusetts not Florida and that this post that had gone viral was making this Mary Baker’s life very unpleasant and that I was very upset that anyone would think that I would say those things. And then I began to get comments on that post, people apologizing and then telling me about the heartache and unimaginable and ongoing devastation that they were experiencing.

I learned that 80% of South Louisiana has been flooded and in the recovery process most people, including folks who replied to the post are now in the middle of gutting their homes. And I also learned about the Cajun Navy — private citizens who were taking their private boats down the flooded streets to rescue people and pets who were stranded. “First responders just couldn’t get to everyone fast enough. Now, there is a Cajun Army, going around helping those who need to remove destroyed belongings, sheetrock, etc. from homes that were flooded. All done free of charge. Others are providing free meals for flood victims. ” From a poster named Jan Hiatt

Two of the organizations that the people “on the ground” in Southern Louisiana seem to respect and trust are the Convoy of Hope and the  Samaritan’s Purse,  who are collecting and distributing clothes, cooked meals and money for survival and rebuilding, if you would like to make a donation.

And at the Cajun Navy is amazing. I am so impressed. Please check out their Facebook page and learn about all the courageous and incredibly generous people of Southern Louisiana.

The Cajun Navy 2016
The Cajun Navy 2016

Here are some of the photos and statements that show the horror that these folks are going through.

Louisina Floods 2016
Louisina Floods 2016
Louisina Floods 2016
Louisina Floods 2016
From the Cajun Navy
From the Cajun Navy
Louisina Floods 2016, photo via the Cajun Navy 2016
Louisina Floods 2016, photo via the Cajun Navy 2016

A PLEA FOR HELP TO THE CAJUN NAVY THAT WAS ANSWERED IN THE MOST AMAZING WAY

A plea for help to the Cajun Navy

A plea for help to the Cajun Navy

Louisina Floods 2016
Louisina Floods 2016

What the Floods were like. Photos from the Cajun Navy 2016

Louisiana Flooding 2016, photo from the Cajun Navy 2016
Louisiana Flooding 2016, photo from the Cajun Navy 2016
Louisiana Flooding 2016, photo from the Cajun Navy 2016
Louisiana Flooding 2016, photo from the Cajun Navy 2016
Louisiana Flooding 2016, photo from the Cajun Navy 2016
Louisiana Flooding 2016, photo from the Cajun Navy 2016

And as far as Mary Baker from Massachusetts, that ended up having a happy ending.  Here are a few of the astounding and unbelievably heartwarming comments that were left on the Mary Baker Art Facebook page — very, very different from the original comments.

GOD BLESS THE PEOPLE OF SOUTHERN LOUISIANA

“Mary you are an amazing woman! God sent us an angel!!”

“I am from Louisiana, Livingston Parish to be exact. It was one of the hardest hit places by the flood. I myself am in the 10% that was not effected but the devastation that my family and friends have suffered is unimaginable. In searching for Mary Baker I came across your post and I just wanted to thank you. Thank you for turning something so ugly into something worth sharing. People like you are the reason why the rest of us keep faith in humanity. Thank you for your prayers and thank you for sharing those sites. Bless you!”

“Louisiana ❤️’s Mary Baker of Massachusetts!”

“As the original poster…I’m glad to see so many apologies and hope 1000s more come your way….Mary Baker Art has been VERY gracious about this entire thing and someday I shall buy her lunch…..crawfish and jambalaya of course.”

“Louisiana loves Mary Baker Art and Massachusetts! Thank Mary for your love and support! God bless you!”

“Thank you for bringing attention to us in south Louisiana and Mississippi. There are so many hurting right now…..physically, mentally, emotionally, financially or all of the above. I have worked with an animal shelter here in New Orleans and there have been so many precious pets that were abandoned or were already homeless. Folks were underinsured or not insured because they were told they didn’t need it because they weren’t in a flood zone. This isn’t another Katrina, it is a disaster all on its own. Thank you, Mary Baker Art, for rallying around us at this time!”

“a beautiful and thoughtful post. So sorry that you received all the responses meant for the other Mary Baker. I personally didn’t know anything about it til just now. Hope you can now obtain some peace!”

“Thank you Massachusetts Mary for you graciousness during the confusion. As you can see my fellow Louisianan’s can show their spicy pride and hot temper that match our boiled crawfish! We are a passionate people and use our boot-shaped state to kick right back when we feel insulted. We are sorry for the hurt and fear some have given you. Please accept our apologies.”

Hope and Recovery for Southern Louisiana, Flooding 2016
Hope and Recovery for Southern Louisiana, Flooding 2016

__________________________________________________________________________________________

Editor’s Note:

This is what I learned.

1)  Bad things can happen on the internet fast, and once they happen it’s almost impossible to undo them, and cyberbullying is very real.

2)  An apology goes really far. The apologies from the posters from Southern Louisiana meant the world to me. And because of their apologies I could hear their stories, and because I could hear their stories, my heart was broken for them, and because my heart was broken for them I wanted to do everything I could to get the word out to help them.  If the original Mary Baker had apologized, showed empathy and compassion, she would have saved me and herself a whole lot of heartache.

3)  Southern Louisiana has such a different culture and way of looking at the world than my Yankee Massachusetts world view. And the people of Southern Louisiana are such big hearted and generous people. Their story of survival, helping each other and ongoing recovery is so inspiring. If you want to learn about their story and follow their story, I check out the Cajun Navy 2016 Facebook page every day. I hope the national media does a story on the Cajun Navy 2016 because it is an amazing testimony of courage and hope and the goodness of humanity. And in a way I am really glad that this weird “Mary Baker mixup” thing happened, because otherwise I never would have understood about this heartbreaking Louisiana Flooding of 2016 and the magnanimous spirit of the people who live there.

The amazing Cajun Navy 2016

The Cajun Navy 2016 - "Love is all you need" (original photo via the Cajun Navy)
The Cajun Navy 2016 – “Love is all you need” (original photo via the Cajun Navy)

 

167 Water Street, Newburyport – Gordon Welchman (and Bossy Gillis too)

167 Water Street

167 Water Street
167 Water Street

This is another story discovered from “If This House Could Talk-Newburyport” – 167 Water Street.

167 Water Street, poster for “If This House Could Talk”

167 Water Street, poster for "If This House Could Talk"
167 Water Street, poster for “If This House Could Talk”

For those who remember the film “The Imitation Game” which was about how the German code was broken in during World War II, there was one person who was there and who was left out of the film – Gordon Welchman, a hero who along with his colleagues shortened the war by two years and saved millions of lives.  There is a recent documentary in 2015 by the BBC called “Bletchley Park: Code-breaking’s Forgotten Genius” about Gordon Welchman. It was aired on the Smithsonian Channel as “The Codebreaker Who Hacked Hitler.”

Book on Gordon Welchman

Book on Gordon Welchman
Book on Gordon Welchman

Gordon Welchman is a fascinating person and a very big deal. He moved to America and became an American citizen. In 1972 he moved to Newburyport and bought 167 Water Street. He died here in 1985. 167 Water Street is now a B&B and has a Gordon Welchman plaque.

Plaque for Gordon Welchman on 167 Water Street

Plaque for Gordon Welchman on 167 Water Street
Plaque for Gordon Welchman on 167 Water Street

The house next door was also part of “If This House Could Talk” and their sign gives the the information that the Greek Revival Row House (which includes where Gordon Welchman lived) was built in 1845 and was part of the factory complex of the James Steam Mill.

Poster for 169 Water Street – “If This House Could Talk”

Poster for 169 Water Street - "If This House Could Talk"
Poster for 169 Water Street – “If This House Could Talk”

1851 Map Showing Row Houses on Water Street

1851 Map Showing Row Houses on Water Street
1851 Map Showing Row Houses on Water Street

And in my hunt to find out a little bit more about 167 Water Street I discovered that in 1945 it was bought from the City of Newburyport by Bossy Gillis a multi-time mayor of Newburyport (Bossy Gillis has had books written about him – another big deal). And during “If This House Could Talk-Newburyport” Yankee Homecoming 2016, it turns out that Bossy Gillis owned two other properties that were documented in this very cool project. It doesn’t appear that Bossy Gillis actually lived at 167 Water Street, I’m guessing that he rented it out.

Bossy Gillis 1945 Deed for 167 Water Street

Bossy Gillis 1945 Deed for 167 Water Street
Bossy Gillis 1945 Deed for 167 Water Street

And the last fascinating tidbit that I found was that Bossy Gillis’s deed in 1945 was signed by the treasurer of Newburyport not the Mayor.  And 1992 it was brought before the City Council for clarification. The person who sponsored it was then City Councilor and future mayor Lisa Mead. Then City Councilor (and former mayor)  Ed Molin moved that it be approved and was then signed by mayor Peter Matthews. (There may be a story about Bossy Gillis’s 1945 deed, maybe a clerical error, I do not know.)

1992 Deed Claification by the Newburyport City Council

1992 Deed Claification by the Newburyport City Council
1992 Deed Claification by the Newburyport City Council

Bossy Gillis

Bossy Gillis
Bossy Gillis

Abbie Parish Noyes, Newburyport, MA

ABBIE PARISH NOYES

Abbie P. Noyes
Abbie P. Noyes

When I did all the research into Abbie Foster to find out all about her, one of the things that really struck me was how little valued women were, especially single women, during the time of my research which was from about 1850 to 1913. I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised but I was. Abbie was an entrepreneur, she had a business downtown for over 10 years. She built a gorgeous house on High Street. Little praise would be an understatement, even in her obituary. Obituaries of married women were different, the church and civic organizations that they belonged to and a flattering portrait of their character were mentioned, but for Abbie Foster, none of that.

However, during the research for “If This House Could Talk,” I did find a lot of research on another Abbie, Abbie Parish Noyes who inherited 85 Lime Street. The glowing write-up was not in Newburyport, but in Utah. You got that right, Utah. Abbie P. Noyes was a missionary to the Mormons in Utah and she appears in the the book Women in Utah History. She also appears in the Utah Division of State History, in “The Abbie Parish Noyes Papers, A Register of the Collection at the Utah State Historical Society.”

85 LIME STREET

85 LIme Street
85 LIme Street

“Abbie Parish Noyes was born in Dedham, Massachusetts on 28 August 1861. Her parents are something of a mystery: her father was evidently a school teacher, for she later described her own teaching experiences to him as she would discuss them with a colleague. In an autobiographical sketch written later in life, she indicates that her mother died on 4 January 1871, yet her letters home during 1889-1890 are addressed to “Mother” or “Folks,” which seems to indicate that her father remarried and that she developed a close relationship with her stepmother. She also had a brother, James Young Noyes, who was born 7 March 1864. She visited and wrote to her brother in Colorado Springs during the school year of 1889-1890, while he was evidently a student at The Colorado College, another Western outpost of the Congregational Church, though he is not listed among that college’s alumni.

Illness and death seemed to plague the Noyes family during her youth. In addition to her mother, her paternal grandmother and an uncle died in January 1871. Most critical in terms of her own life, however, was the death of her mother’s father while Miss Noyes was visiting her grandparents in Newburyport, Massachusetts. Her grandmother was seriously afflicted with rheumatism and unable to care for herself and Miss Noyes agreed to live with and care for her. It must have been a difficult decision for she had just graduated from high school and a friend in Dedham, Miss Martha Burgess, had offered to finance her college education.

Miss Noyes stayed with her grandmother until her death eight years later. No doubt aware that she was devoting the best years of her youth to the care of an invalid, she determined to make the most of the situation and to mitigate her loss of college training by seizing any other educational opportunities that presented themselves. Her grandmother, fortunately, was herself well educated and appreciated Miss Noyes’ willingness to read aloud to her. During the summers, too, she took advantage of the close proximity of a Chatauqua program at Framingham and completed nearly the entire course for a diploma. Immediately upon her grandmother’s death, Miss Noyes wrote, “I felt myself free to offer myself to the New West Education Commission to teach in some one of their many schools.” The Commission accepted her application and sent her in 1889 to Ogden, Utah to teach in the Ogden Academy.” From the Utah State Historical Society.

So I was very impressed to see this young lady, who inherited 85 Lime Street get the credit she so richly deserved.

THE POSTER 85 LIME STREET FOR “IF THIS HOUSE COULD TALK”

Poster for 85 Lime Street "If This House Could Talk"
Poster for 85 Lime Street “If This House Could Talk”

All of this was discovered because of “If This House Could Talk.” The poster that the owners of 85 Lime Street made includes Abbie Noyes as well as the history of this beautiful house.

Abbie and her husband S. Foster Jaques along with their daughter Mildred Noyes Jaques are all buried at Oak Hill Cemetery in Newburyport.