History of Stoughton and Canton Taverns
from Daniel T.V. Huntoon's
History of The Town of Canton, Massachusetts (1893)
CHAPTER XII - TAVERNS
The first tavern in what is now Canton was kept by Gilbert Endicott. The house was standing in 1700, and, tradition says, was situated directly in
front of the house now occupied by George F. Capen, at the junction of Washington and Chapman streets. The cellar-hole can be seen distinctly to
this day, although it was called "ye old cellar hole " in 1727. This tavern was running in 1702, when Mr. Endicott had neglected to take out a license, and was obliged to recognize to the court for good behavior in the future. He continued to keep this inn until 1707, when Daniel Morey appeared as landlord, and so continued until 1710. Mr. Endicott was absent in Boston, where his brothers William and John were innholders, and where he also kept an inn on Orange Street from June, 1709, to 1711. In 1713 he was again at his ancient tavern, and entertained Judge Sewall, who baited ai. his house on the 15th of September, 1716, about a month before Endicott's death.
Sewall says in 1709, "From Morey's at Ponkapog to Taunton, over the new road, rode fourteen miles without seeing a house."
John Vose, who was the son of Edward and grandson of Robert, was born Nov. 20, 1676. He established his tavern on the site now occupied by the old-fashioned hip-roofed house built by Capt. John Billings, still standing at the corner of Washington Street and the private way leading to Draper's woollen mill, sometimes called Vose's Lane.
The exact time at which Vose began business in Canton is not known; but James Blake, when on Moose Hill in 1714, observes, " Punkepog via Voses, N. E. 56o and little."
That he was "purvayor" at the ordination of Rev. Joseph Morse, our first minister, in 1717, the ancient receipts bear witness. Benjamin Lynde, Chief-Justice of the province, stopped at Vose's on Sabbath Day, Sept. 7, 1718. He attended sermon, and after supper proceeded to, and lodged at, Mrs. Billings's. In 1720 he again visits Vose's, and with the landlord and Mr. "Fenner" crossed over about five miles to the Roebuck Tavern, then kept by Nathaniel Kingsbury, where the Chief-Justice treated them to a quart of Madeira. Whether the judge heard any scandalous stories about "the keeping of ninepins," or the "allowing of gameing," he does not state; but Mr.Vose was accused of such misdemeanors, summoned before the court, and honorably acquitted, but had to pay the costs of court. In 1727 Vose asserted that he " has kept a tavern in Stoughton for diverse years past without any interruption ; " nevertheless, he seems to have had the weakness of other landlords, and was that year fined, £10 for selling strong drink without a license; again in 1733, now promoted to captain, he sold drink without a license, and was accordingly fined.
On Sept. 4, 1730, the Chief-Justice was again at Vose's. Three years afterward he dined and lodged there, and spent the evening with the Rev. Samuel Dunbar. The next day being Sunday, he went to church and received the sacrament. Sept. 20, 1734, he supped at Vose's and dined on salmon trout. He heard Mr. Dunbar preach, noted down an extract from his sermon, contributed fifteen shillings, and the next morning departed, having paid Mrs. Hewins for his horse, lodging, etc., twenty-six shillings. Mr. Vose died this year, and probably Mrs. Benjamin Hewins, his daughter, who subsequently married Samuel Cutter, was in charge.
In 1732 the warrants for town meeting were posted at the public-house "nighest to the Meeting House."
Sarah Clapp, who on the 3d of July, 1700, became the good wife of the captain, was buried March 9, 1733; and on July 15, 1734, the captain was himself interred, — not, however, without remembering the church in his will. When he had been dead about a month, Mr. Dunbar called a special church meeting for the purpose of informing the brethren that Captain Vose had by his last will and testament bequeathed to the Church of Christ £20, to purchase a piece of plate.
Some years ago I copied the inscription on Captain Vose's gravestone. Since then the frost has split the stone vertically, and no trace of the carving remains; the footstone, however, stands, with the initials and date upon it.
After the death of Captain Vose, his estate was purchased by Ebenezer Maudsley (Mosely), son of Thomas and Mary (Lawrence), who was born Sept. 4, 1673. In 1736, Chief-Justice Lynde, while performing his official duties, again put up at the old tavern. His lodging cost him twenty shillings, and five shillings more he distributed among the servants. It is a singular coincidence that Ebenezer Maudsley, who purchased Vose's estate, was also a benefactor to the church. Mr. Dunbar records his burial as follows: "Aug. 3, 1740.— This day Mr. Ebenezer Mosely, our neighbor, an inhabitant of Stoughton, was interred at Dorchester. In his will he has given £20 to this church."
In 1743 the heirs of Maudsley sold the estate to Capt. John Billings, who lived on it till his death, April 3, 1786, when it passed to his son Frederic, and a portion of this large farm is still owned by the descendants of John Billings.
Another benefactor of the church figures in connection with this old tavern. One Sunday morning, more than a hundred years ago, a party of young men assembled here. As the hours passed by, they drank freely, and in the course of the night reached the noisy stage of inebriation. The sound of their unseemly hilarity reached the ears of Mr. William Wheeler, who held the office of tithing-man, and whose duty it was to see that the laws against Sabbath-breaking were enforced. He accordingly procured his staff of office, and made a descent upon the tap-room of the tavern. Upon making known his errand, he was greeted with shouts of derision. He then, by the authority in him vested, ordered the Sabbath-breakers to disperse. Whereupon he was bound by the midnight revelers, and a glass of hot toddy poured down his throat. He resisted vigorously, but it was of no use. Another glass was prepared, and he was obliged to swallow that. To this he did not object so strenuously as at the first. He was then unbound, and took the third of his own free will. Others followed in quick succession ; and the consequence was that the preserver of the public peace soon made more noise than all the rest, and was obliged to be carried home and put to bed by some of the more sober of the company. Nor was this the only fall from grace chargeable to this tavern. Preserved Tucker, whose name should have saved him, was disciplined by the church for excessive drinking, "being twice overtaken at Capt. Vose's, a public house."
In 1723 James Endicott was licensed as a retailer; and as he brought in a bill in 1738 for "Rhum, sugar, and plums," it is fair to believe he continued in the business up to that time. He was licensed to sell "without doors;" that is, to persons not guests of his house or inn.
As early as 1730 there were many places where entertainment could be obtained for man and beast; and the town authorities considered these public-houses as the most appropriate places whereon to post the warrants for the annual town meetings. In 1722 Moses Curtis was an innholder. In 1745 Edward Wentworth had facilities for entertaining guests in Canton.
The question of granting licenses came up in this town; and Samuel Billings, Daniel Talbot, Eleazer Robbins, Theophilus Curtis, Benjamin Johnson, and Richard Stickney were granted the privilege to sell liquors. Several of our townsmen, however, "although they had no objection to the gentlemen above named, are still of the opinion that the multiplication of such houses has been of ill consequence to the town in general, especially to youths and the unthinking part of the town;" and they therefore prayed the selectmen that no more be licensed than had already been approved.
Deacon Joseph Tucker, one of the first settlers of Canton, appears to have kept an inn in 1742 "on the common and most general road to Rhode Island;" how long I cannot say, possibly thirty years, for he was living on that site that length of time, and he probably did not begin to keep an inn in the latter part of his life. It was situated very near the site where stands the Crane schoolhouse. Chief-Justice Lynde mentions stopping here at one time.
After the death of the deacon, his widow, Susanna (Pelton) Tucker, continued the business, and finding she needed assistance, took into partnership, in a business and matrimonial way, Richard Stickney, who appears to have been the landlord in 1757.
From 1767 to 1787 this tavern was kept by Samuel Capen, who was born in 1745, and died Oct. 7, 1809. The following extract from an old diary may or may not refer to the building of this house: "Sept. 3, 1757, Father at Mr. Capen's; Sam raises his house in the afternoon." In this tavern was born, May 27, 1777, his son Samuel, who was well known to the present generation, held many offices of trust in the town, and died in the house which he erected in 1849, at Canton Corner, Jan. 22, 1863.
Samuel, the landlord of the old tavern, was not only a famous singer, but a composer as well. He was the author of a book containing some exquisite tunes, entitled, "Norfolk Harmony;" and at his house were often held the meetings of the singing-club. From the tavern at South Canton he removed to Pleasant Street, and lived on the place opposite the terminus of Sherman Street. Here he resided in 1794; from here he went to Canton Corner, living in the old house built by John Wentworth, Jr., until his death. Gen. Elijah Crane took possession of the old tavern soon after Capen left it, and was landlord from 1789 to 1800. Here on the 9th of January, 1797, were decided all matters pertaining to the separation of Canton from Stoughton. In granting his license as an innholder, the selectmen declared that he was "of sober life and conversation, suitably qualified and provided for such employment, and attached to the Constitution and laws of the Commonwealth." The committee on the fish business met at his tavern in 1795, and the following year the "Proprietors of the Common Field" met on the 25th of April, and chose their officers.
We have seen that Chief-Justice Benjamin Lynde, on a hot day in August, 1720, invited his Canton friends over to the Roebuck to test the quality of Kingsbury's Madeira. Judge Sewall also mentions that he lodged there the same year. On Fast Day, 1883, the Canton Historical Society, leaving the "old Ark" in Norwood, followed the king's highway, leading to the Providence Plantations. On the site of the house where now resides Simon Gould in East Walpole, they found the cellar of the old tavern. The old walls were intact, and many of the timbers showed that they had once belonged to a much older edifice.
On the site where stands the former residence of Dr. Ezra Abbot, there once stood a large house, erected by Jeremiah Ingraham, who came to this town from Attleboro' in 1740, married Susanna, daughter of Deacon Joseph Tucker, and resided upon this farm until his death, which occurred Feb. 11, 1773, in the ninetieth year of his age. He was a man of such prominence that this part of the town was known for many years as the Ingraham Neighborhood, the school near his house as the Ingraham Branch, and the corner of Washington and Neponset streets as Ingraham's Corner. His son Jeremiah married, Feb. 13, 1755, Abigail, daughter of Joseph Hartwell; and from this union are descended some of the most famous families in the annals of Maine, the Hon. Reuel Williams, United States Senator, and Joseph Hartwell Williams, Governor, being among the more distinguished. It was one of the places of meeting of the ancient musical society, and Elijah Dunbar makes frequent mention in his diary of a "sing at Ingraham's."
Jeremiah Ingraham, after the death of his father, sold to Supply Belcher, in 1778, the "home farm," as he described it, lying on both sides of the Taunton road, containing on the west of the highway twenty-four acres, running from Billings Lane, now Neponset Street, to the land of Abijah Jones. The larger portion on the east side of the road contained over sixty acres, and extended from the Great Elm opposite Church Street to near the house now owned by Arthur C. Kollock.
Supply Belcher, the purchase;-, commonly known as "Uncle Ply," appears soon after he bought it to have opened a tavern, which on the map of 1785 is designated as Belcher's tavern. It probably was not kept by Belcher very long after this date. He was the son of Clifford Belcher, who was taken in such "a surprising manner " on the 23d of April, 1773, and died on the 26th. Supply was born on the borders of Canton, April 10, 1752. He removed to Augusta in 1785, thence to Farmington in 1791, which town he represented in the Legislature in 1798, 1799, 1801, 1802. He had a son, Hon. Hiram Belcher, who was a member of Congress. Supply Belcher was a prominent member of the Stoughton Musical Society; often we see mention in old diaries of a "sing at Belcher's" while he was "mine host" of the tavern. In 1782 he and Elijah Dunbar, another famous singer, went to Commencement at Harvard, and enjoyed the musical part of the exercises. Nor was it alone as a singer that Supply Belcher was noted. He was a composer of no mean ability; and in 1794, when he issued his "Harmony of Maine," the pieces contained in it were so excellent that they gained for their author the title of "The Handel of Maine." He died June 9, 1836.
After the removal of Supply Belcher to Maine, the house was occupied by Capt. Thomas Crane, who resided here until his death, May 5, 1787. He was a brother of Major-Gen. Elijah Crane. The selectmen were accustomed to meet at Crane's and Smith's alternately during this period ; and a well-worn path existed from what is now the town farm to this tavern, crossing Pequit Brook near the bridge on Sherman Street. In 1788 Eunice Crane, the widow of Captain Thomas, advertised the house for sale, and said that it "has been improved for a tavern for many years." When Dr. Abbot purchased the place in 1836, the old tavern was demolished, and such portions of it as were sound, used in the erection of the present house.
Jonathan Leonard, commonly called "Quaker" Leonard, was a member of the Society of Friends. He built the southerly portion of the present Massapoag House in 1789, and occupied it as a private residence for many years; unsuccessful, however, in his business affairs, he was obliged to surrender the old house to his creditors. After he left town, the house was occupied by David Spaulding, who kept a public-house. In front of the tavern was the sign of a stage-coach with four horses attached. It was during his day that the Canton Lyceum flourished, and at his tavern their meetings were held. Spaulding left the tavern in 1834. He died June 12, 1838, aged thirty-eight years, and was buried in the Canton Cemetery; and James Bent, the son of Capt. William Bent, the landlord of the Eagle Inn, took charge of the house. The old sign was replaced by one bearing the legend, "James Bent, 1834." A stage driven by the "Bent boys" made regular trips to Boston. Mr. Bent continued as landlord until his death, which occurred Feb. 3, 1847, on which occasion Mr. Elijah Crane wrote from Savannah, "I regret to hear of the sudden demise of our old friend Bent. He was an honest man, which is the noblest work of God. Peace to his ashes! " and Mr. Crane adds, " I am in better health than I was when I carted wood from Canton to Boston barefoot." We have pleasant recollections of this old tavern and Mr. Bent's kindness to little boys. The year following the death of Mr. Bent the tavern was in charge of his twin sons, Nathaniel and Elijah. Shortly afterward the old hostelry was altered by Mr. Lyman Kinsley. He remodeled the old house, raised it a story, and on the northerly side built a new hall. This hall was considered a very fine one in its day. Well do we remember its dedication, which took place Feb. 3, 1848, when the following gentlemen acted as the managers of the ball on that evening: F. W. Lincoln, Lyman Kinsley, James S. Shepard, Vernon A. Messinger, Ezra Abbot, Charles H. French, William Tucker, C. W. Marden, Uriah Billings, Oliver Deane, S. B. Noyes, Ellis Tucker, William Tucker, 2d, A.O. Sinclair, Alonzo Kinsley, J. Mason Everett. The name "Massapoag," which was given to the hotel at this time, has been retained to the present day. For some years, under the care of Mr. Stetson, it was a first-class country hotel. Many families came from Boston to spend the summer here; but after Stetson left it, it deteriorated, the smoke from the forge was in certain directions of the wind disagreeable, and it gradually descended from a second to a third class house of entertainment.
In the old hall have been held some of the liveliest political meetings that have been seen in a country town. For many years it was our only dance-hall; and here were witnessed the last of those old-time contra-dances, now gone by. No more the vision of Mrs. Sinclair as she "took the steps," or Nathaniel Bent as he cut the "pigeon's wing," will gladden our eyes; but the recollections of the happy nights passed in the old hall will linger in the memory till time with us shall be no more.
At the southeast corner of Washington and Pleasant streets stood, during the Revolution, May's tavern. The old well, sixty feet deep, now covered by a large flat stone, may still be seen under the catalpa-trees, which were brought from Georgia. Before the days of the Aqueduct Company this well was used by the whole neighborhood, and a great trough furnished water to the thirsty horses. No trace of the house exists to-day; but its site is approximately fixed by a large black-heart cherry-tree, which still produces luscious fruit. To the traveler from Taunton and beyond, journeying toward Boston, May's tavern was a convenient stopping-place. There was no turnpike built until the first quarter of the present century; consequently nearly all travelers passed this house. As early as 1735 Nathaniel May was fined for traveling on the Sabbath Day; and as early as 1740 Samuel May had a shop on this corner. In 1747 Nathaniel May furnished the motive-power at the raising of the third meeting-house. In 1766, in the month of October, the selectmen dined there. Five of them paid for their dinner at five shillings per man, and four of them had "boles of tody" at five shillings per bowl, old tenor. Two years afterward Joseph Billings was fortunate enough to kill fifty-eight rattlesnakes; overjoyed at his success, he invited his friend, Joseph Hewins, to dine with him. The landlord of May's tavern presented him with the following bill: —
To 2 Dinners............ 0 9 0
" Rum............. 3 4
" Flip and other liquors........ 7 0
" Rum............. 1 8
£ 1. 0. 12.
The flip was delicious; and for fear the secret should be lost, we will reveal the mystery of its decoction. Four pounds of New Orleans sugar, four eggs, and one pint of cream were thoroughly mixed and allowed to stand two days; then when the anxious customers appeared, a quart-mug nearly full of beer was drawn, and four large teaspoonfuls of the compound put into the beer; then the loggerhead, well heated, was applied to each mug, then one gill of rum added to each mug; and the work, as far as the landlord was concerned, was completed. All that remained was to uncover, and drink the king's health.
Years passed by; the old sign still swung listlessly on its hinges.
"Oh, the days are gone when the merry horn
Awakened the echoes of smiling morn,
As, breaking the slumber of village street,
The foaming leaders' galloping feet
Told of the rattling, swift approach
Of the well-appointed old stage-coach."
The easy times of peace passed away; and as the selectmen met at the tavern they had other matters to discuss than the larder or cellar. Nathaniel May was now "mine host" and his tavern was designated by Captain Endicott as the place of meeting of the men of Canton who were willing to answer the alarm. Nor only this; but troops from the towns beyond stopped at the old tavern, and night after night every floor was covered with the recumbent forms of young volunteers.
In later years a singular incident happened in this old tavern. The house was at one time occupied by a lone woman, who, hearing some noise in the night, got out of bed, lighted a candle, and made a thorough search, as she supposed, for robbers. Finding no one, she went to bed and went to sleep.
A few weeks afterward, a man was arrested for an offence committed in another town, and while confined in Dedham jail, confessed, among other matters, that he broke into May's tavern on that very night; that he heard the woman descending; that he saw the light, and at once climbed up the yawning kitchen chimney and sat upon the crossbar until all had become quiet.
In 1777 an advertisement in the "Continental Journal" informed the Stoughton friends of the soldiers in the army to the southward that if they would lodge their letters either at Mrs. May's tavern, in Stoughton, or at Mr. Randall's, in Stoughtonham, on the 8th day of January, 1777, and pay three shillings per letter, they would be duly forwarded to their destination by William Shurtleff, post-rider. When the news of the first alarm reached Stoughton there was as much excitement as at Canton. The men procured their arms and started for May's tavern, from which they marched to Boston.
This tavern was the resort of the early musical society. In 1766, on account of some difficulty, "the Singing Meeting at May's was broke up" but the next year, March 9, 1767, there was a meeting of the singers at May's, "all differences were made up," and there seemed to be "great love and harmony." Here also were held meetings where great love and harmony did not prevail; such as meetings concerning the building of the schoolhouse in 1770, the draft in 1776, and the meeting of the Committee of Correspondence in regard to the Tories, and their trial, where Squire John Kenney presided.
After the death of Nathaniel May, April 18, 1774, his widow sold out her household effects, and Capt. William Bent became landlord in 1780. Luther May appears to have kept the tavern from 1800 up to the time when the nightmare carried him off, on the 12th of April, 1812. In 1807 a singing-school was kept at Luther May's, but "there were so few pupils that were like to make singers that they flung it up." The material consisted of Adam Morse, A. Kinsley, A. Upham, E. Pitcher, T. Wentworth, George Downes, Charles Taunt, Gideon Mackintosh, Dr. Stone, D. Leonard, Eliza Carroll, Mary Billings, Sally Wentworth, Eliza Downes, Ruth Fisher, Polly and Ruth McKendry, Avis, Elizabeth, and Polly Wentworth.
From 1796 to 1812 all the school-district meetings of the Corner were held at May's.
In 1822 the old tavern was unoccupied. The following account of it at that time has been preserved : —
"I have been and examined Mrs. May's, and find it bad enough, in all conscience. The kitchen is poor and miserably old, with an antique fireplace, with the oven in the side, hard by the back. In one end is a place they call the bar; but it is not unlike a small sheep-pen. The door opens into it directly from without, with a wooden latch ; the cracks on each side are sufficient to let in wind and weather; one of the chambers is painted with skim-milk and Spanish brown, which gives it a very unique appearance. There are two small bedrooms under the roof, for I forgot to mention that it was a back lean-to house, in the style of sixty years since. These chambers are so near the roof that there would be no danger of falling out on the back side. Besides, I presume the house is not destitute of inhabitants, though human beings there were none."
About 1824 the old building was occupied as a tavern by John J. Wood. The exact date of its demolition is unknown to me; it was between the years 1837 and 1840. One gentleman informs me that he remembers when the sign represented a bell, and it was called the Bell Tavern. I am informed that a portion of this old tavern was moved to Chapman Street, opposite the terminus of Sherman Street, and converted into a tenement-house by that indefatigable preserver of ancient buildings and friend of our early days, Elijah Bailey.
On the site where stands the house known as the Huntoon homestead there stood, in the latter part of the last century, a large old-fashioned mansion which was used as a tavern.
Capt. Amos Upham was the landlord ; and he was a member of the Masonic fraternity. There was a hall in this old mansion on the northwest side, and here the Masonic brethren were wont to meet on winter evenings. They had no charter, but held what are known as sodality meetings. The honest landlord took the east; Jesse Downes, the father of the commodore, the west; John Capen the south; and George Jordan acted as Tyler. In 1814 Cobb's tavern, on the Sharon border, was substituted as a place of meeting. Jonathan Cobb was evidently a lover of the craft, for on the walls of the old tavern can still be seen blazoned the symbols of the Masonic order.
In 1807, after the ordination of Row William Ritchie, the ministers and council were entertained at Mr. Upham's tavern. The same year the hall was used for a dancing-school. Mr. Upham sold his house of entertainment to Mr. George Downes; and on Sept. 16, 1819, the hall was used for the last time, when Mr. Joseph Lancashire delivered an address on education. On the 21st of November the house took fire. The people at the meeting-house first discovered it. and rang the bell. Samuel Capen's hatter-shop was torn down, and the old Capen house, built by John Wentworth, Jr., was with great difficulty saved, to last until 1879, when it was demolished. The house of Dr. Jonathan Stone, at the corner of Ragged Row, commonly called the Withington house, or English Cottage, was also in danger, having been in flames many times, but was finally saved.
In 1820 Mr. Downes erected the house now standing. It contained perhaps the only hall in Canton in those days. Here came all the shows; and either in the hall or on the grounds were exhibited "two bisons and a catamount," and sometimes an elephant. In 1825 the hall was used for religious services while the new meetinghouse was being built. The same year a grand ball took place. Here, in 1824 and 1833, performed the celebrated magician, Robert Potter, son of Dinah, slave of Sir Harry Frankland. One who saw him says, —
"I ne'er shall see another show, To rank with the immortal Potter's ; He 's dead and buried long ago, And others charm our sons and daughters."
On training-days the floor of the room in which these lines were written was so covered with the refuse of punch that the lemon peel floated about upon it. Here, also, met the selectmen to transact their business, and the "Proprietors of the Common Held Meadows." Here was held the annual meeting of the Norfolk Universal Society in 1827. From 1822 to 1829 the post-office was kept in this house.
Mr. George Downes was a leading man in town. He was the son of Oliver Downes, and was born Sept. 3, 1790, and died Feb. 6, 1861. "He was," says one who knew him, "a most useful citizen, — one who sustained and filled with affectionate assiduity the tenderest relations of domestic life; one whose sound mind, candid judgment, mature experience, and sterling common-sense were frequently appealed to in business affairs and highly appreciated by all who knew him." Mr. Downes left the house in 1840, and removed to the farm now occupied by the family on Pleasant Street.
On the 27th of October, 1845, after this house had become a private residence, there occurred in it one of the most tragic events that ever took place in this town. Mr. Huntoon's wife had died on the 2d of October, 1844; and he, with his son, was living in the house with a housekeeper named Eliza Baker. It was when Porter's burning fluid lamps, as they were called, were in vogue; and Eliza had often been cautioned never to fill them when lighted. On this day she went into the dining-room, and bolting the doors for fear of interruption, took the can containing the fluid, unscrewed the top of the lamp, which was lighted, and tipped the can to pour out the fluid. The moment the fluid reached the outlet of the can, a flash ignited it, and there was a terrific explosion. Mr. Huntoon, who was writing in his study, heard the noise and fearful screams. He tried the door and found it locked, then retreating a few paces, he rushed with all his force and burst it open. The impressions of the moment are thus described in his own words: —
"I had written thus far when I was attracted by a noise in the dining-room, whither Eliza Baker had just gone with her lamp. And, oh, what a scene followed. In a moment what a change came over me. From a quiet, calm, and still room instantly the sounds of confusion, fire, and death are heard. What a display of mortal weakness, insecurity, and frailty is here, when the transition from the activecareer of life to the insensibility of the grave has been so awfully rapid. One moment she was breathing freely the invigorating air of life; the next, the suffocating flames of death. No warning, no ad-monition. With the suddenness of a flash of lightning enveloped in the devouring flames and without the reach of mortal assistance or relief, what an awful moment, what an age of agony must have been crowded into that single moment when she saw that blazing room and fastened door! Upon such a scene of mortal agony I never before looked, and I pray God I never may again. Language has no words to express it; the mind has no power to conceive the horror of it. I cannot realize the scene I then beheld. Its image in my memory is like the awful vision of a frightful dream. I can hardly be persuaded that it is not a delusion."
When Mr. Huntoon entered the room. the woman stood in the centre of it, enveloped in the flames. He threw her on the floor and wrapped some woollen article about her. She was then taken out of the room. In the mean time the flames had communicated to the woodwork : and it was only by the activity of the neighbors that the house was saved from burning. The blisters on the panels are still visible. Miss Baker died on the following day from her injuries.
On the 23d of September, 1846, the pastor of the First Parish gave an "old folks' party" at this house. The united ages of twenty of the participants amounted to 1314 years, as follows: Mrs. John Sherman, 84; Mrs. Jesse Downes, 85; Mrs. Nathan Gill, 77; Mrs. Draper, 80; Mrs. Thomas Dunbar, 65; Mrs. Avis Leonard, 60; Mrs. Abigail Lewis, 75; Mrs. Eaton, 47; Mrs. Fisher, 52; Mrs. Turner, 60; Mrs. Elisha White, 52; Mrs. Billings, So; Mrs. James Endicott, 64; Mrs. Samuel Capen, 66; Mrs. James Bent, 54 ; Mrs. Davenport, 55 ; Mr. Elisha White, 56; Mr. Thomas Dunbar, 71 ; Mr. Ebenezer Turner, 60 ; Major Samuel Leonard, 71.
Many of those who attended this party I well remember, and now they are all gone. Truly —
"Life 's like an inn where travellers stay: Some only breakfast and away; Others to dinner stay, and are full fed ; The oldest only sup and go to bed; Long is his bill who lingers out the day; Who goes the soonest has the least to pay."
Friend Crane, the son of Elijah and Sarah (Haughton) Crane, was born in Ponkapoag, on May 20, 1764, in the old-fashioned gambrel-roofed house his father raised, and which still protrudes into the street. In 1801 Mr. Elijah Fisher sold to his brother Abel " the dark colored stage" which he had himself built, together with a full set of harness tipped with brass ; also the box. slate, and all privileges of which he was owner at Major King's tavern in Boston. Abel sold them to Friend Crane, who took the house known as the Stearns house, near the railroad bridge, and resided there. In 1812 he built what is now known as the Everett house, and for more than twenty-five years he continued to drive his stage into Boston. King's inn was situated in Dock Square, and was a famous coaching-house. Crane left there for Canton on every Tuesday and Saturday at three o'clock; but he had so many parcels to deliver that it was often ten o'clock before he reached Canton. At one time the stage left from Daggett's in Market Street. In 1823 it was advertised to leave from Barnard's on Elm Street every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. From 1826 the stage was driven by Ozias Gillett, who sold out to James Dunbar. Ezra Swift, Elijah and Nathaniel Bent subsequently drove the stage.
Mr. George Hollingsworth, in writing of Mattapan in his boyhood, thus describes Friend Crane's stage: —
"Twice a week and later every day the stage driven by Friend Crane to and from Canton would halt here to water the horses and take in perhaps a passenger or two. The stores dealing in refreshment for man and beast were the natural resting-places, and from them intelligence was conveyed."
Friend Crane subsequently resided in the house opposite Neponset Street in South Canton. He was a stanch Baptist in his religious belief; and a tablet has been placed in the Baptist church which bears the following inscription: —
" In memory of Deacon Friend Crane one of the founders and early supporters of this church, died March 27, 1847."
Mr. Leonard Everett came to Canton about the year 1815. He was the son of Edward and Hannah (Leonard)Everett, and was born Sept. 26, 1787, on the old Everett homestead in Sharon, which the Canton Historical Society passed on their way from Sharon Village toward Moose Hill, on the Fast Day walk of 1880. Mr. Everett began business in the Upham tavern, and for a year or two remained in that house; the firm was Johnson & Everett. He then removed to the house we are describing. It is not probable that Mr. Everett had many lodgers at his house, but it seems to have been an excellent place for dinners. On Nov. 15, 1822, when the Crane Guards turned out for the first time in their new uniforms complete, they started from Everett's, marched to General Crane's, took something to drink, fired nine times a six-pounder belonging to Captain Revere, then marched to Thomas Dunbar's, then to Colonel Lincoln's where they had victuals and drink of good quality, where, after firing a salute, they marched oft" to the north part of the town. The performance ended by "A splendid Ball in Everett's Hall."
The deacon appears to have been something of a military man, as he is designated as quartermaster. The members of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company residing in Canton - namely, Capt A. Kinsley, Jonathan Leonard, Charles Leonard, Franklin Bisbee, John Gay, and Frederic W. Lincoln — dined in 1823 at Quartermaster Everett's. On the 23d of March, 1826, a military ball took place in the hall of this house. On the 28th of October, 1831, the house and store were burned. It was the day of the ordination of Rev. Mr. Edes, and Hon. Thomas French writes, "Mr. Everett's house was nearly destroyed by fire yesterday afternoon, soon after the services; goods and furniture mostly saved." As I remember this place, it was the very embodiment of a country store. Here congregated all the loafers and idlers in the vicinity, who sat on boxes covered with buffalo-skins, around the stove, and continually spat tobacco-juice upon it. Here were discussed the politics of the town ; and the man who could hold his own in argument for the space of a year was looked upon as a village wiseacre.
The store was for many years open on Sundays at noon; and between the services crackers, cheese, and gingerbread were sold to such as did not carry their luncheon to meeting. Singing meetings were often held here; and in 1839 the committee decided in this house what tunes should be printed and what excluded from the forthcoming collection of the Stoughton Musical Society, to be printed by Marsh & Capen.
Mr. Everett was an active man in the affairs of the town, parish, and church, and held offices of trust and responsibility in all these various organizations. He continued keeping this country store until his death, which occurred March 2 1, 1852.
In the old Canton Cemetery there stands an ancient stone, which bears this inscription : —
"Here lyes ye body of Dea'n Stephen Badlam, who died March 20th, 1758, in ye 38th year of his age."
And near it is another stone bearing this: —
"Here lyes ye body of Mrs. Hannah Badlam she died March 16th, 1758, in ye 34th year of her age. She was ye wife of Dea'n Stephen Badlam."
Thus they sleep, — they who kept the old tavern on Ragged Row a hundred and forty years ago. Deacon Badlam was the son of Stephen and Elizabeth (Billings) Badlam, and first saw the light in Milton, May 18, 1720. In 1742 he purchased from Roger Sherman the old farm now owned by the town of Canton, and here he kept until his death a well-ordered hostelry. He was elected to the office of deacon, Feb. 15, 1749. He appears to have been a cabinet-maker, for in 1754 he receives payment for "making a sort of a desk for ye town books." In 1767 Asahel Smith, a brother-in-law of Deacon Badlam, came from Dedham and purchased the farm. He was active during the Revolution, and was captain of the second company that marched at the Lexington alarm. It is said that he paid for his farm by the sale of wild pigeons, which he caught in a swing-trap, carrying them to Boston and selling them at the market, and that his income from this source was one hundred dollars a year. This may appear an exaggeration; but we are informed that the pigeons were so numerous in the vicinity of Pigeon Swamp that one man caught with a net one hundred dozen lacking one. He tried to catch one more, but could not, and would not shoot one. We can well understand how this swamp came by its ancient name.
Capt. Asahel Smith died Sept. 18, 1779, at the age of forty-six years. He also lies buried in the old cemetery, and the lines following are cut upon his stone: —
"My children dear, this place draw near. A father's grave to see ; Not long ago he was with you. And soon you'll be with me."
During Smith's occupancy of the tavern, the old singing society frequently made the roof ring with their melody; but on Sept. 21, 1767, they met at Smith's, and the report was, "samone very poorly." Here William Billings kept his singing-school, and the exercises were held in the afternoon, as the roads were so bad that it was inconvenient to drive after dark.
During the Revolution the selectmen and the Committee of Correspondence met often at Smith's. Here they regulated the prices of goods and merchandise, or decided on the distribution of supplies to the families of soldiers.
In 1776 the question was discussed in this old tavern as to what should be done with those citizens who refused to take the test oath. In 1778 Captain Smith's bill for hiring soldiers for the town, amounting to £ 10 18s., was approved; and on the 14th of June, 1779, the committee discussed the question as to the best way and manner in which the men for the nine months' service could be secured.
Captain Smith was succeeded by his son Joseph, who kept a public-house until 1792. On March 12, 1793, the heirs sold the farm to Andrew Capen, father of Nahum Capen, LL.D., the author of the "History of Democracy." Andrew Capen was very fond of music, and lived to be present at the fiftieth anniversary of the Stoughton Musical Society, held in 1836. It was during his occupancy that the old tavern was finally closed, although it was allowed to remain standing until within the memory of persons now living. It was situated a rod or two south of the present building; the old well still remains. In 1808 the present building was erected, and from Mr. Andrew Capen it passed into the possession of the town. In 1842 an addition was made to it, and in 1881 a new building was joined to the almshouse.
Between the old Blackman house and Carroll's tavern, on the southerly side of Washington Street, stands an old-fashioned house with a lean-to roof, and projecting there from an enormous chimney. It has within a few years been curtailed in its proportions and reduced to the size of an ordinary house; but in spite of paint its appearance indicates age. It has been called the Dunphe house of late years, because it was at one time occupied by a family of that name. But at the close of the last century it was the resort of the Federalists of that time. From 1785 to 1800, and how much earlier we cannot say, it was known as the Eagle Inn. It was the house referred to in the "Alphabet Song," which appeared soon after July 4, 1798, in the words: —
"E stands for Eagle, the sign of the inn; F stands for Federal, who went to drink gin."
The principal patrons of this inn were courteous and bland old gentlemen, who had saved from the leveling influences of the Revolution the traditions of English elegance and good cheer, which they or their ancestors had brought to this country. Capt.William Bent, who lies buried in the old burying-ground at Ponkapoag, came to Canton in 1763. We are not at present able to assert that he occupied this old house for the succeeding twenty years; but that he was engaged in furnishing refreshments, if not in keeping a tavern, would appear from the following entry in an old diary, under date of "Sept. 27, 1769, finish husking; supper at Bent's." Again, in 1771 : "Two days at Bent's to meet Dr. Stevens."
In the list of taverns which appear in a series of old almanacsin our possession, beginning in 1752, we find no mention of our Canton Bent; but this may be because his residence was not at that time on a stage route.
The almanac of 1767 mentions Doty's as two miles beyond Bent's; but this was Capt. Lemuel Bent, whose tavern stood under the large elm-tree near the present Atherton tavern in Milton. The old almanacs further record that May's is three miles beyond Doty's; and Noyce's in Sharon four miles beyond May's.
Capt. William Bent, whose services during the Revolutionary War will be narrated elsewhere, was landlord of the Eagle Inn at the time of the July Fourth celebration. Here he put up such travelers as chance threw in his way, and retailed to the village loafers grog at three pence per glass. The well-to-do farmers purchased West India at three shillings a quart, and the parson always got a drink free.
It was at Bent's that Moses Hartwell, the brother-in-law of Roger Sherman, boarded when he kept the school at Canton Corner in 1766. He had taught the school a decade before, but since that time he had been to Yale College, from which he graduated in 1762. He was the son of Joseph and Mary (Tolman) Hartwell, and was born July 24, 1735. The melancholy news of his death reached Canton, Sept. 6, 1769, and is thus recorded: "Tidings came that Moses Hartwell was taken ill in New York on the 8th of August, and was brought home to his brother Sherman's house at New Haven sick of ye nervous fever, and died ye twenty-fifth of ye same month. Sic transit gloria mundi."
From 1786 to 1796 all the school meetings pertaining to the Canton Corner School were held at Captain Bent's. During the piping times of peace, Bent had leisure to devote to town affairs and to parish matters. He attended to the first painting of the meeting-house; on Sundays he took charge of the boys in the gallery; the supply of the pulpit was in his hands, and the candidates were well entertained at the old inn.
During the war, when not out in service as captain in the Continental army, he purchased and distributed supplies to
the families of the soldiers. He was away from this house between the years 1781 and 1785, when he kept the May tavern. He was appointed one of the committee of the Canton parish to prepare., a bill for the separation of Canton from Stoughton; and many were the meetings held alternately at this tavern and at Drake's in Stoughton to adjust the details of the separation. Here, also, were held trials for small offences. About 1800 the sign of the eagle was removed from the inn, and the figure of a horse substituted. In 1805 the committee appointed by the Court of Sessions met here to consult about widening and straightening the post-roads.
Captain Bent kept this tavern until his death, Oct. 16, 1806. It was then taken in charge by his son William, who also in later days kept the May tavern. About 1824 the Eagle Inn was purchased by Gideon Mackintosh, who learned the trade of a hatter of Capt. Benjamin McKendry. He was a genial, gentlemanly man, the father of Adam, and purchased subsequently the farm on which Adam resided at Packeen. Gideon Mackintosh married, Nov. 5, 1812, Nancy, daughter of John and Nancy (Tucker) Sherman, grand-daughter of Roger Sherman. Gideon Mackintosh died Sept. 19, 1859, aged seventy; she died Sept. 19, 1836.
The old tavern, standing just west of Aunt Katy's Brook, was erected April 14, 1798. It contains a hall for dancing; and a piazza on the second story, opening from the hall. Here was held the preliminary trial of Jack Battus. Here Baptist, Universalist, and Catholic clergymen have held the services of their respective organizations, but the old people who were young a half-century ago will best recall the days of sleighing parties, and the merry dance that followed. It was kept by mine host Samuel Carroll, who married a daughter of Adam Blackman.
Mrs. Maynard was fond of describing the old-fashioned "sings" that took place at Carroll's, about 1800, when old Deacon Elijah Dunbar led the singing, and when he called for an old-fashioned pewter platter, for fear of dulling his knife on the new-fangled china that had been placed before him; but most to be remembered was the grand "sing" of 1815, when the return of peace was announced, and the timbers shook with the ancient melody. Mr. Nathaniel French subsequently taught a singing-school in this tavern, and psalm tunes were sung over and over again.
It was in the hall of this tavern that the first Baptist minister preached, on the 4th of September, 1806. Here the Rev. William Ritchie boarded before his settlement, and here were adjusted the preliminary articles regarding his pastoral office. Here also were the meetings held to oppose the building of the Turnpike in 1806, and also to prevent its completion. After the death of Carroll, which occurred Oct. 25, 1820, the tavern was kept at one time by John J. Wood; and here Universalist meetings were held. It was subsequently owned by Larra Wentworth, who was born Sept. 6, 1800, and died Dec. 13, 1858. It is now owned and occupied by Edward Cotter. The irregular shape of the doors and windows, and the piazza on the second story, give to the building a peculiar and picturesque aspect.
Capt. John Tucker resided until the beginning of the present century on the farm now owned by Ellis Tucker. He was born in 1748. In 1772 he married Rachel, daughter of Robert and Margaret (Smith) Thompson; she died Oct. 18, 1830, and he Dec. 11, 1826. He was the son of Capt. Samuel Tucker, from whom all the Tuckers in Canton are descended. He came from Milton and settled on the easterly side of the York road; the old cellar-hole and well are still to be seen opposite the residence of the late Nathaniel Tucker; for some reason Captain John was styled "Governor." He married, Dec. 3, 1747, Abigail, the daughter of Major John and Rebecca (Fenno) Shepard. One of his sons, Jedediah, graduated at Harvard College in 1782, became a clergyman, and was settled at London, N. H., in 1789. He died in 1818, and was found by the roadside with his horse standing beside him. Another son, Samuel, resided at York, and married Olive Hartwell, Nov. 30, 1780. Simeon also lived at the Farms near him, and Oct. 23, 1788, married Milla Hartwell. Daniel married Bethiah Gill, Oct. 16, 1777, and resided on Farm Street in the house now owned by Phineas Tucker. Samuel the father died March 17, 1796, in the seventy-seventh year of his age, and Abigail, his wife, March 23, 1792, aged sixtv-four.
The Redman farm was purchased by Capt. John Tucker, in 1803, who formerly resided at the Farms. The old Redman house, built in the earliest days of the settlement, was then standing, and was called the "small old house." Mr. Tucker erected the present house, and here opened a tavern, which was for many years to have a reputation unsurpassed. Within its walls, while it was a new house, on the 3d of April, 1813 the veteran soldiers of the Revolution had a reunion, and afterward enjoyed a fish chowder under the shade of a large button-wood that stood about where the modern avenue crosses the old Ponkapoag Pond bank. Captain John died Dec. 11, 1826, aged seventy-eight.
In 1823 Capt. William Tucker purchased the property from his father, and erected upon a pole about sixteen feet high a gilded ball about one foot in diameter, which about 1827 disappeared and gave place to a sign with "Ponkapoag Hotel" painted upon it.
A number of Boston gentlemen were in the habit of coming out to Ponkapoag to pass the day; and from 1830 to 1850 the hotel was mostly patronized by them and the scores of their friends who were fond of a day's recreation. Captain Tucker erected a shelter on Puffer's Neck, which was known as the Sheep Shore ; and here celebrated chowders were made by the landlord, who was well versed in the mysteries of the culinary art.
The Ponkapoag Hotel differed in one respect from other country taverns. There were no boarders and few transient lodgers. The guests mostly confined themselves to a day's sport, driving from Boston early in the morning and returning in the evening. On the 4th of July, 1826, the military company took dinner at Capt. Wiiliam Tucker's. Pigs were roasted whole, and a fine repast was furnished in a pavilion in the rear of the house. After dinner, the company went up Blue Hill. The Crane Guards, commanded by Capt. William Shaller, turned out on the occasion. Here, in 1820, Rev. Mr. Huntoon put up when he came to Canton for the first time; and here the council which ordained him met on the 22d of January, the following year. In 1825, a circus ring was constructed in front of the house, and drew the attention of the younger residents of Ponkapoag of that time. There was a bowling-alley connected with the house which has long since disappeared.
Captain Tucker at one period of his life took an active part in town and parish affairs. He was very fond of hunting. A good picture of the jolly captain with his favorite setter is still in possession of his daughter. After the death of the captain, the hotel was occupied, in 1863, by Mr. William Lord, and subsequently by DeForrest Lewis; but with the death of the old landlord Tucker, the old glory departed. In 1869 the property passed into the possession of Hon. Henry L. Pierce. He has added to its area, built a delightful avenue from the house to the pond, and made the Redman farm one of the best in Norfolk County.
The land on which the Cherry Tavern stands was originally a part of Lot No. 5 of the "Twelve Divisions." It was owned in common by David Jones, Samuel Paul, and Daniel Preston. In 1700 it was owned by William Bennett, who sold it to Charles Salter. In 1714 Salter's widow sold the southern third of a sixty-acre lot to Jonathan Kenney. At his death in 1724 it came into the possession of his son, Jonathan, Jr., who sold it to his brother John.
John, the son of John and Abigail (Wentworth) Kenney, was born Feb. 9, 1729, and died March 9, 1805. He was a prominent man in the history of our town. Although not a lawyer by education, he did much of that kind of business which has of late fallen into the hands of lawyers ; and many of the deeds, bonds, leases, and indentures in old times were written by him. He was a good bass singer, and went to Boston to buy books for the singing-club as early as 1766. During the War of the Revolution he was active and energetic in the patriotic cause. He was at the outset one of the five sent to the adjournment of the Doty Tavern Congress, which was held at the tavern of Richard Woodward, at Dedham, on the 6th of September, 1774. The following year he was a minute-man and one of the Committee of Inspection, and again in 1776. He listened to the evidence against the Tories in 1777; and the expression, "This is what I call doing business, as Squire Kenney said when he wiped his mouth and sentenced a Tory," comes down in folk-lore as evidence of his zeal. In 1778 he was selected by our townsmen to bear a message to General Washington, and in 1783 was sent as Representative to the General Court. He gave his property to his son, who agreed to support him, but disregarded his agreement; and the old gentleman who had been considered worthy to clasp the hand of the father of his country died a town pauper.
In 1753 he erected a small gambrel-roofed house on the site where stands the Cherry Tavern. It now forms the southeast corner of the lower story of the present building; and we are informed that the only cellar this large mansion now has is the old cellar of the original house. This house remained in the possession of the Kenney family until 1818, when it was sold to John Gerald, the son of William Fitzgerald, the first of the name in Canton. William lived in 1785 in a house which formerly stood back of the Ponkapoag schoolhouse, on a deserted lane running to Green Lodge Street, on the line between Lot No. 5 and the Indian land. The Canton Historical Society identified the cellar-hole on the Fast Day walk of 1885. This house was afterward purchased by Laban Lewis and removed to his father's farm opposite the Ponkapoag schoolhouse. William Fitzgerald died Sept. 17, 1802. His descendants have dropped the Fitz.
In 1823 the cherry-trees planted by Squire Kenney were in their prime, and persons who were fond of this fruit began to go to John Gerald's; but it was not until 1826 that the old house was raised to a two-story house and extended toward the north. Seven or eight years later the back was raised to correspond with the front.
Before the house was a pole, from which hung a swinging sign on which was represented a cherry-tree and the legend.
"John Gerald, Cherry Tavern, 1827." In 1839 landlord Gerald informs his patrons that "he still retains the well-known stand called the Cherry Tavern, where he will continue to receive and entertain his customers with the choicest fruits and viands of the season."
But landlords are not without their troubles. Now, Captain Tucker of the Ponkapoag Hotel had a fine road across his farm to the pond, a good landing-place with boats, and opportunities for a fish-fry, so that many persons drove by the Cherry Tavern and patronized the rival tavern. In order to divert a portion of this custom and to make his place of equal attraction, Gerald had a canal dug in 1831 from the old pond bank near where the house of David Talbot stood, through the bogs to the pond, placed upon it a boat, and announced that boats were in readiness for those who desired a sailing or fishing excursion on Ponkapoag Pond ; but the scheme was not a success.
The long house on the opposite side of the street was formerly connected with the Cherry Tavern. The lower part was used as a shed for horses, while in the upper story was a bowling-alley. It was removed to its present site in 1839. Under its roof the old canvas-covered baggage-wagons from Leach's furnace at Easton used to pull up.
Mr. Francis Sturtevant purchased the place in 1841. He was born April 2, 1779, and died at Canton, March 18, 1863. He continued to keep the tavern until his death. The house subsequently was purchased by Samuel Cabot, M. D., of Boston, who converted it into a private residence. The open yard was filled with trees, the old pump with its ample trough denied the public, the bar removed, and man and beast pass it now with thirst unquenched.
Philip Liscom, Jr., who kept a hotel in 1769, was the grandson of that Philip Liscom who married Charity Jordan, of Milton, Dec. 24, 1701, who was living at York in 1716, and may have lived there in 1708, when he was warned out of Dorchester. He owned our church covenant in 1718, and the same year held the important position of constable; and two years later, when his neighbor, Jonathan Jordan, under took to resist his authority, he was forced for his audacity to pay forty shillings to the king. One of his sons, Benjamin, who was born Nov. 4, 1720, is recorded as having been killed by the Indians in 1746. He died "in the twentieth year of his majesty's reign, leaving no wife nor child nor any legal heir." His brothers, Philip and John, immediately began a law-suit for a seventh part of his estate, consisting of a house with seven acres of land, bounded west by the road leading to Bear Swamp. This Philip had a son Philip, born June 23, 1731, who married Miriam Belcher, Nov. 16, 1752, and died Feb. 8, 1774. He was the innkeeper of 1769. His inn was situated, according to the old almanacs, "one mile south of Doty's and two miles north of May's." It occupied the site at the corner of Washington and Sassamon streets, and preceded the house built in 1848, still standing, and owned by George B. Hunt. The original house was probably built about 1767, for Squire Dunbar mentions it as the place where, on Sept. 16, 1767, they had "Fine singing at Liscoms New House." But though Liscom was a good singer, he could not keep a hotel; and after running it two years, he could not pay his taxes, and could not pay the fine for not paying his taxes, so to jail he went.
From 1760 to 1768 Henry Stone styles himself "inn-holder." He resided on his father's homestead, now occupied by Thomas Bailey Aldrich. He was the son of Daniel and Thankful (Withington) Stone, and was baptized by the Rev. Joseph Morse, Feb. 19, 1721. In 1756 he was out in the French War, and the following year was at Crown Point. In 1760 he was at home again, and occupied the estate of Samuel Vose. In 1762 he administered upon his father's estate, and the same year desired to purchase the town's right in "The Landing Place at Milton." In 1765, in connection with Edward Wentworth, he erected at Milton the first chocolate-mill in the country, which has been doing business ever since. He had a mill on Ponkapoag Brook, on the "upper mill pond," the remains of which are still to be seen a few rods below the bridge at Ponkapoag, and are worth a visit for their picturesque beauty. He married, about 1742, Lydia Wadsworth. To his house to woo his daughters came Joseph Bemis, Nathaniel and Lemuel Davenport, Elisha Crehore, Capt. Thomas Crane, and Thomas Allen, and were successful in their suits. From 1766 to 1774 he was on the committee of the First Parish. He died June 7, 1784.
Another tavern kept by Mr. Kinsley is mentioned in 1798. Here the committee chosen by the town of Milton met the committee of Canton on the 19th of March.
From its intimate connection with the Revolution, an account of the Doty tavern will be found in the history of that struggle.
Williams's tavern was not properly in Canton, but just over the Sharon line, opposite land owned in 1803 by Jonathan Cobb. It was in existence and frequently mentioned about 1788.
In 1830 Mr. Francis W. Deane kept a tavern at the corner of Washington and Neponset streets, in the house built in 1828 by Dr. Simeon Tucker, but it was only for a year or two.
On the opposite side of the street from the Eagle Inn stands the old Blackman house. Rev. Theron Brown says this house was for many years known as the Baptist Tavern. It was evidently not a public-house; the only event of any public interest which has taken place within its walls was the meeting on the 22d day of June, 1814, when the Baptist Church was organized, and when the dinner served must have equaled that of any hotel. When Mr. Porter preached here on Sept. 12, 1783, he boarded at Blackman's, as did also Rev. Mr. Ritchie in later days; for boarding these and other candidates, Mr. Blackman received £ 22 15s. 1d.
" The moss-grown dome where first they met, By the old road is standing yet; And near the landmark mountain high, The small brown schoolhouse, where in days Of strengthening hope they sung God's praise, Waits while the years of time go by."
In 1840 Zadock Leonard had a tavern at the junction of Church and Neponset streets. The hall is known as Union Hall.
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