How Did Gloucester’s Founding Shape Its Future?

Blyman Bridge. 1923
Edward Hopper (1882–1967)

by Mary Ellen Lepionka

As a municipality, Gloucester historically was regarded as poor compared to other seaside towns in Massachusetts. I wondered why and found answers in our early history. Massachusetts Bay Colony policies destroyed the productivity of the first comers to Cape Ann, and the newcomers who followed them were farmers who could not turn a profit on Cape Ann’s soils. Gloster Plantation was underfunded from the start. Its harbor never received enough investment to achieve its potential as an international port of trade. Later, the wars of the 18th and 19th centuries benefitted other towns but left Cape Ann depopulated and depressed. Historical circumstances shaped Cape Ann’s prospects, just as early childhood experiences can shape us in ways we may come to understand but find hard to change.

John Endecott (1588-1655)

In 1628 the New England Company, which became the Massachusetts Bay Company, sent John Endecott to govern the Old Planters at Salem Village (relocated members of Rev. John White’s failed Dorchester Company plantation on Gloucester Harbor) and to oversee Cape Ann. The next year the Company obtained a royal charter to start a colony and sent a fleet to Salem with 350 settlers, the so-called Higginson Fleet, named for the minister who wrote an account if it. Then in 1630, they sent John Winthrop with a much larger fleet to govern the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Masquenominet (Masconomet, Pawtucket sagamore) and his entourage canoed out to Winthrop’s vessel as it lay at anchor (in Beverly Cove or Mackerel Cove) and went aboard to welcome him. Winthrop gave trinkets to the Indians, relieved Endecott, and moved the capital from Salem to Dorchester. The Massachusetts Bay Colony then established a General Court.

The General Court promptly declared null and void all deeds of land bought directly from the Indians without the Court’s permission! Anyone living on such lands were squatters! They were to be evicted and the land redistributed to newcomers! This ruling (missing from what we are taught about the history of Massachusetts) had a devastating effect on all first comers. William Jeffreys, for example, lost his holdings at Jeffrey’s Creek and Jeffrey’s Neck and his lucrative fishing grounds on Jeffrey’s Ledge at Ipswich.

John Winthrop (1588-1649)

Independents and ex-Plymouth fisherfolk in Cape Ann’s nooks and crannies—Kettle Cove, Lobster Cove, Pigeon Cove—quickly added themselves to the rolls of the plantation or became part of the new town by gifting their land to it on condition of getting it back through redistribution or being allowed to live and make a living on it! In a long letter called The Planter’s Plea, John White begged the General Court to let the Old Planters in Salem-Beverly keep at least the land on which their houses stood, which was granted. First comers at Jeffrey’s Creek also were permitted some acreage for a town (renamed Manchester-by-the-Sea).

The four ships John Winthrop brought to New England, 1630
William F. Halsall (1841-1919)

The scale of this disaster makes one wonder if the plight of first comers—some of whose descendants still live here—is the deep-time source of local distrust of state government, prevalent in Gloucester and other coastal Massachusetts towns down to the present day. The earliest settlers and entrepreneurs had been disenfranchised, displaced, and potentially pauperized overnight. If they lacked ownership of their land, they lacked the chief means of upward mobility—other than participation in the slave trade by supplying corn, barley, and fish to the Bermuda and Caribbean slave plantations.

The fur trade was no longer a source of income. After a hundred years of dealing with Abenaki middlemen in the French fur trade, the Native people of Essex County were no longer interested and in any case, had already hunted beaver to near extinction. And the domestic shipbuilding and maritime industries had barely begun. The sketchy Cape Ann economy, interrupted, was soon thoroughly regulated and taxed, although to encourage maritime industries, the General Court excused fishermen from military training, duties on salt, and tithes on their catches.

The General Court redistributed the land first comers had borrowed, bought, or taken from the Indians to fleets of newcomers during the Great Migration, in which an estimated 15,000 to 20,000 people emigrated to New England between 1630 and 1642.

Newcomers to Newbury, Rowley, and Ipswich included prosperous North Country weavers and woolen manufacturers and gentlemen farmers. They flourished on the rich alluvial soils of their broad floodplains and built country estates. Beverly and Beverly Farms likewise had large expanses of prime agricultural land.

First comers to Cape Ann (Gloucester, Rockport, Essex) had been fishermen from the West Country—Devon, Dorset, Hampshire—but most newcomers were illiterate and even less well-off farmers from Gloucester, Warwick, and Worcester. On Cape Ann, they were homesteading on marginal land unconducive to large-scale agriculture and easily damaged by over-grazing. Over time, first cattle and “rother beasts”, then sheep and pigs, and finally goats were all the land would support. Harvesting pole pines for the Royal Navy and salt marsh hay for animal fodder became the leading export industries.

Plantation proprietors petitioned the General Court for clear legal title to their lands, becoming towns with selectmen or aldermen. They were required to pay (or repay) the Indians to obtain quitclaim deeds. Gloster Plantation, established in 1638, and then the Town, incorporated in 1642, complied by renting land from Masquenominet! This is a little-known, possibly hidden, fact that you will not find in local archives. Gloucester rented to buy, paying the Indians over time. Over the next 50 years, they paid in kind—bushel baskets of Indian corn—in lieu of cash. The last recorded installment was paid in 1682. Gloucester paid its taxes and military dues the same way—in Indian corn, barley, and peas, with frequent requests for quota reductions and abatements.

In 1700/1701 Samuel English and Masquenomenit’s other grandchildren sued Gloucester in General Court—another little-known/hidden fact—and they won their case. The General Court ordered Gloucester to pay the balance owed in cash—£7 for the 10,000 acres, including Essex.

The newcomers to Cape Ann were farming among the rocks in sandy, acid soils, and after centuries of inshore overfishing, fishermen were having to sail five miles out to Stellwagen or Jeffrey’s Ledge (or 60 miles out to George’s Bank in the Gulf of Maine, and later even farther) to find market fish in any quantity. More important, the start of the English Civil War in 1641 put an abrupt end both to mass migration and to aristocrats’ investment schemes for making Gloucester Harbor into a prosperous international port.

In 1642 the General Court had invited a wealthy merchant prince in the tobacco trade, Maurice Thompson, to oversee Gloucester Harbor and to create and regulate shipping through a canal between Ipswich Bay and Massachusetts Bay. Such a canal—the Cut— would make shipping between Canada and Virginia both shorter and safer by avoiding the Cape, which was already littered with shipwrecks. The port also would serve as a distribution center for transatlantic trade. Thompson had a great flow of capital to invest from wealthy landowners in England, such as Richard Rich, the Earl of Warwick, who had a special interest in developing coastal New England.

The relationship between the Indian Village, Gloster Plantation, and the planned port at Duncan’s Point.

Governor Endecott had houses, docks, and warehouses built for Thompson at Duncan’s Point, where Harbor Loop is today, but the merchant prince did not accept the offer. He sent agents to check it out but never came. Greater riches were to be made in the Caribbean and South America. In 1643, in an effort to develop Gloucester on its own, the selectmen employed a Puritan from Plymouth, Richard Blynman, to make the Cut and serve as the town’s minister. Per usual, they paid in kind in lieu of a salary, offering some land and a free hand to profit from running a ferry or toll bridge across the Annisquam.

Things didn’t go well between the strict new pastor and the people of Gloucester. In 1650 he and his party, including the first town clerk, left for Connecticut Colony. The Cut was abandoned and soon filled in. It was dredged from time to time, but opportunities to salvage the dream were passed up again and again. By the time the Cut was reopened—in 1823 and again in 1907—it was too narrow and shallow to serve the international shipping industry, and steamships had less need of both the shortcut and the safety.

During the 18th and 19th centuries, Cape Ann men were out to sea or at war most of the time. Population declined. Provisioning fishing vessels became Gloucester’s main industry. Vessels were prey during the Anglo-Wabanaki and French and Indian Wars, the Revolutionary War, the Napoleonic Wars, and the War of 1812. It’s said the British replenished their ships’ stores by raiding sheep pastures in Dogtown. Other coastal towns capitalized on home front industries that could provide war materiel—soldier’s uniforms, canvas for sails and tents, gun parts. Gloucester, in contrast, provided service as privateers, troop transports, and merchant marines. Later, men left for the California gold rush even as the granite industry was starting. But exploitation of immigrant labor meant that the quarries enriched their owners and corporate chiefs more than the towns. Men who did not fish left Cape Ann for jobs. The fishing industry became hugely successful, but dependence on fishing had given Gloucester a risky, undiversified economy—a kind of monoculture gradually leavened by summer resorts, artists, retirees, tourists, and (we can only hope) new industries.

History is a great teacher. As individuals and as municipalities, historical circumstances shape our prospects, but they do not necessarily determine them. We make ourselves, and we are not poor. That things are hard to change doesn’t mean they can’t.

 

Mary Ellen Lepionka lives in East Gloucester and is studying the history of Cape Ann from the Ice Age to around 1700 A.D. for a book on the subject. She is a retired publisher, author, editor, textbook developer, and college instructor with degrees in anthropology. She studied at Boston University and the University of British Columbia and has performed archaeology in Ipswich, MA, Botswana, Africa, and at Pole Hill in Gloucester, MA. Mary Ellen is a trustee of the Massachusetts Archaeological Society and serves on the Gloucester Historical Commission.

Olga Lingard & Cape Ann: A Great War Enigma

World War I Poster    by Sidney H. Riesenberg (1885-1971)

By Holly Clay

Olga Lingard was known as a recluse. There’s more to her story, though. She lived on the hillside above Annisquam’s Lobster Cove, on the Dogtown side of Washington Street. Her brother Eric took on heroic missions as a WWI aviator, dying in Action. In his memory, Olga gave a parcel of land for “Soldiers’ Memorial Woods,” where Annisquam’s WWI war memorial stands in a peaceful grove alongside the Cove.  A plaque honors soldiers who lost their lives in that “Great War.” Three men’s names are etched there:  Eric Lingard, John Gossom, and Bertram Williams. All had strong Cape Ann ties.

“Soldiers’ Memorial Woods.”
A plaque in Annisquam honors soldiers who lost their lives in the “Great War.”
The three men’s names are Eric Lingard, John Gossom, and Bertram Williams.

Olga wanted to pay tribute to her brother and establish a memorial. He died in October 1918 in the aftermath of a successful aerial retaliation against a German U-boat threatening a South American freighter. Ensign Eric Lingard died of pneumonia at the Naval Air Base at Chatham, shortly after a plane on which he was “gunner,” crashed. He and his co-aviators were spotted and saved after 27 hours in the freezing, October waters off Cape Cod. Eric had stayed partially submerged, tending to his comrade and holding up the left wing of the plane. The encounter was one of the rare home-coast incidents in which a U.S. Navy plane successfully diverted a German U-boat.

Eric Adrian Alfred Lingard, Navy Pilot

In 1923, Olga, along with an Annisquam memorial committee commenced discussion. She hoped the Grove would bear Eric’s name. She had cause. Hollis French, a committee member, explained Olga’s point of view in a letter to Professor Charles Frederick Bradley. (Bradley would ultimately deliver an address at the unveiling.) Hollis said that Olga noted the custom of naming Legion posts after their most prominent member, and believed the same protocol was afforded war memorials. He continued, “he [Eric] was, she thinks, the only one who was lost in actual defense of his home land and particularly of his home section…She feels, therefore, that if the land in question is to be used as a memorial, it should be named after him, although it could be used as a memorial for all the boys who went from Annisquam.“

By 1929 the committee and Olga had resolved to dedicate the Wood to all those who fought, highlighting the three Annisquam men who died. Preparing for the July 7 dedication, Olga eagerly shared memories and highlights of Eric’s life and career in a letter to Professor Bradley. “Those Naval Patrol Fliers were pioneers of the air in the tradition of 1776. A meager handful – with shaky planes, scant equipment, worthless compasses and no ammunition – they set out against the odds of storm and deadly fog, to see their enemy. They too met death barehanded for the sake of the land they loved.”

Her words reflect an aching heart, as she goes on to describe Eric’s roots in Annisquam, “This Wood, these trees, and rocks, this cove, were part of Eric’s childhood.  Here he played Indian and learned to swim. And beyond all official data, there is one fact of particular significance to the people of Annisquam: The fact that Eric’s special service – the thing he individually could give – was his exact knowledge of this coast, gained from a boyhood spent cruising these waters. After he won his wings, his orders to France were issued but were delayed….as the Germans sent submarines over here.  Our coastwise shipping, even the coast itself was attacked. Pilots familiar with these shores were needed. And so it happened that Eric was chosen to guard this very spot.”

“Those of us who were in Annisquam during the summer and fall of 1918 could hear, almost daily, the throb of his plane as he flew over us on patrol. And death came to him as the result of his volunteered response to an SOS from a submarine attack.”

“Truly, and directly, he gave his life in defense of this Wood which you now dedicate,” she wrote with the passion of one who has lost the person most dear to her. She never fully recovered. In later years, she could be found sitting in Eric’s tomb in Annisquam’s Mt. Adnah Cemetery. Perhaps, she tried to reforge the bond that his tragic death severed.

Olga also had a role in securing the hull of the downed plane, H.S. 1L.1695, for Gloucester.  It was to be placed in Stage Fort Park as a tribute to the Gloucester men who fought in the Great War.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt, then Acting Secretary of the Navy, wrote to Olga, “Your letter concerning the hull of Seaplane 1695 has been received, and I am very glad to be able to tell you that the request you make in your letter has already been complied with.

“….I have given orders that the hull of Seaplane 1695 be turned over to the Park Commissioners of Gloucester…

“Knowing what a splendid young man your brother was, I can realize what a great loss you have suffered. Your brother lived up to the best traditions of the Navy and I cannot speak too highly of his gallant work.”

Lingard seaplane, Gloucester Harbor, 1919.     

Olga, like her brother, had backbone. Their childhoods could not have been easy, but certainly fueled loyalty to one another. Though newspaper accounts say Olga was born in Switzerland, ships’ manifests list Hungary.  It is not clear when they emigrated, but in 1900 Olga, Eric, and their mother Adele, this time claiming birth in Germany, were boarding with a family by the name of Boehme in Los Angeles.  Their father Henry R. Lingard’s birthplace is listed as Russia. The census form lists him as deceased, around 1898. In 1900 Olga was 13 and Eric was 10.

By 1905 the family had moved to Boston.  Eric attended Middlesex and Harvard, entering Harvard Law School in 1913. Then in January 1915, Adele died. Eric left law school to care for Olga. He was only half way through his second year. Coming home to Annisquam, to “Highland Cottage,” he established an ice business. Eric’s official Navy Registration card (May 1917) listed Olga as his sole relative. He wrote, “Yes. Am sole relative and guardian of invalid sister, …”

Olga Lingard.     Courtesy of the Annisquam Historical Society

Olga Lingard lived until August 1970. Her GDT obituary says she was educated in Europe and spoke several languages. The obituary speaks of her contributions, most notably of the WWI Memorial here in Annisquam. Though solitary up on the hill with her dogs, she maintained links to the community.  Below, she appears in a photograph of the cast of the Annisquam Village Players (first row, second from left).

Later in life, Olga sold the family house to the Crouse family (Sound of Music lyricist Russel Crouse) and moved into a smaller house on Bennett Street.  In December of 1964, a fire ravaged her home. Olga lost everything, including the manuscript for a book she had written about her brother. Not long after, she moved to an apartment in Rockport and ultimately to a nursing home. An eccentric, or not, Olga Lingard made her mark, dignifying the family name and drawing attention to the ultimate sacrifice paid by her remarkable and loyal brother Eric.

 

**********Postscript************

The hull of HS 1695 has disappeared, its fate a mystery. One clue surfaced. In 2012, Gloucester resident Bill Hubbard responded to a Good Morning Gloucester photograph of the seaplane Eric regularly piloted.

The photo jogged his memory. In regard to the other plane, the one that crashed, Hubbard said, “For years before and during WW-II, the hull of a similar plane was in the lower level of the Twin Light Garage on East Main Street. The garage was owned by the late Ray Bradley who lived on Rocky Neck. As kids, we often played around it and I remember Ray telling us that it had been a WW-I airplane – I believe it was an old Coast Guard bi-winged seaplane. There were no wings or rudder, just the hull which was shaped very much like the one in the picture. Not long after the end of the war, they dragged it out to the flats on Smith Cove and burned it.”

In response, Bodin confirmed Hubbard’s memory. “Thanks, Bill. I had heard that Eric Lingard’s aircraft was stored in the DPW barn on Poplar Street for years, and then went to someone’s basement or garage.”

Hubbard replied, “Fred, maybe that was Lingard’s plane in the basement of Twin Light Garage.”

What else could it have been?

Gloucester’s VFW Post 1620 ultimately took Eric Lingard’s name, now known as the Doucette-Lingard Post.

******************

To learn more visit:

The Annisquam Historical Society Exhibition at the Annisquam Firehouse

Annisquam in World War I

4 July 2017 – 30 September 2017

 

 

Holly Clay is settled in Gloucester after many years of living overseas and in Washington, D.C. Holly is a member of the Gloucester Historical Commission and the Annisquam Historical Society.  With a background in education and writing, her professional energies are currently devoted to studying and teaching yoga and meditation.

 

 

 

“Ye Names of Ye Rivers”: The Story of Wanaskwiwam: An Indian Village in Riverview

Mary Ellen Lepionka, June 13, 2017

Annisquam Marsh. 1913                          Melbourne Havelock Hardwick (1857-1916)

Reading the unpublished notes of amateur archaeologist N. Carleton Phillips, which he wrote in preparation for his talks to the Gloucester Rotary Club back in 1940, I was struck by the great quantity of Indian artifacts he removed from Riverview—bushel baskets full of potsherds and arrowheads! I was studying the history of Cape Ann prior to English settlement. Phillips reported large shell middens at Curtis Cove and Wheeler’s Point and copious artifacts and features from a site just north of Pole Hill: post holes and hearths of wigwams, fire pits with faunal and pottery remains, caches with stone tools, and camps and human burials nearby.

Some of these finds are in the basement of the Cape Ann Museum as the Phillips Collection, others in the basement of the Robbins Museum of Archaeology in Middleborough as the Chadwick Collection. Phillips had been following up on earlier archaeological investigations, and I was intent on tracking them down.

Artifacts or site reports from amateur and pre-modern excavations, some dating back to the 1870s, include the Johnson-Speck records in the R. S. Peabody Museum in Andover, the Cape Ann Collections in the Harvard Peabody Museum and Peabody Essex Museum, the Gustav Heye Collection from the old Museum of the American Indian in New York, and private collections. Much evidence has also been lost.

I wondered if there really could have been a village at Riverview north of Pole Hill. The Gloucester Archives contains no references to an Indian village. Oddly, the Archives contain no primary sources on Native Americans here at all–other than a reference to the baptism of a Native servant by the name of Pompey, and a local census with a few names annotated in pencil as “Indian”! I found one curious note in the minutes of a 1682 Selectmen’s meeting in which they voted to ask the townspeople to distinguish local Indians from strange Indians (those displaced by King Philip’s War of 1675) in their dealings with the Natives, suggesting there may have been some vigilantism. By then things weren’t going well. In 1688 Massachusetts offered its first bounties on Indian scalps, an incentive that lasted off and on up to the War of Independence.

Elsewhere (in the basement of the Sandy Bay Historical Society in Rockport), I found Ebenezer Poole’s 1823 account of his grandfather’s testimony that there was a large Indian village in Riverview north of Pole Hill and that it often had as many as 20 or 30 wigwams! But there seemed to be some question about the reliability of both accounts. Other than that, there were a few residents’ reminiscences and newspaper notices of Native Americans making pilgrimages to Cape Ann during the 19th and early 20th centuries, but no other references to a village.

Then I found John Dunton’s letter of 1686. Dunton was a London bookseller who had sailed to Ipswich to prospect for new markets for his books. He wrote home about his overland trip to Gloucester in which he observed a funeral in a woe-begone Indian village by the name of Wonasquam! (In addition to describing the Indian village, he observed that most of the people on Cape Ann were illiterate and had no use for books.) But there was some question about the veracity of Dunton’s description, which sounded a lot like Roger Williams description of an Algonquian funeral in Rhode Island. I questioned the critic, though. Why wouldn’t two different accounts of the same ceremony sound similar? I also wondered if Wonasquam was the source word for Annisquam. I’d chanced upon the information that there was a Hotel Wonasquam in Annisquam sometime in the 1800s.

I did some exploring and found that Riverview is a north-south aligned terrace flanked by two tidal rivers, Mill River to the east and the larger Annisquam River to the west. The terrace is about two and a half kilometers long and one kilometer wide at its widest point at mid-tide and contains freshwater springs and patches of wetland and two hills. The place has water access to two other rivers, Little River and Jones River to the west, and to the islands, salt and fresh marshes, clam flats, natural harbors, and beaches of Essex Bay, Ipswich Bay, and Massachusetts Bay.

An ideal place for a Native village if ever there was one. According to state archaeologists, the criteria for the siting of pre-Contact coastal Native villages in Massachusetts include the following characteristics:

  • Partly submerged terrace on an outflow plain.
  • At the junction of two or more tidal rivers.
  • Less than an 8-degree slope.
  • Within 1,000 ft. of permanent fresh water.
  • Southwest-facing intervales of stratified, undisturbed, fertile soil.
  • Abundant nearby sources of wood for fuel.
  • North-facing soft earth overlooking water, for burials.
  • Rock outcrops for wind and sea protection, defensive positions, and astronomical reckoning.

Wanaskwiwam Village Map

Riverview, north of Pole Hill, met every criterion. In addition to location, the estuarine environments all around Riverview would have been optimal for human habitation. Shellfish would have provided a year-round supply of easily obtained high-quality animal protein. In addition, fish, eels, land and sea fowl, marine mammals, and large and small game would have been continuously available. Equally important, the site would have had the following subsistence and cultural resources:

  • Salt marsh, fresh marsh, permanent fresh water.
  • Forests for fuel, wood, fibers, nuts, herbs, fruits, vegetables, medicinal plants.
  • Tidal rivers/bays for marsh plants, canoe access, clay deposits, trade routes.
  • Fertile riverine soils in upland intervales and beaver meadows for crops.
  • Abundant rocks, minerals, and gemstones.

For most of the Woodland Period, the people in what is now Essex County migrated seasonally between inland winter villages and the coast. Upon reaching their summer sites, the people would set their fishing nets and then plant corn. However, at some time prior to direct European Contact, probably before the 15th century, some Algonquians were practicing more intensified agriculture and living on the coast year round. Cape Ann would easily have supported a population of at least 1,500 people at a subsistence level and probably more than twice that with the addition of agriculture.

Abundant diverse subsistence resources, reliable shellfish, and corn harvests with preserved surpluses would have supported increases in population, population stability, and more permanent settlement. Other major coastal villages in Massachusetts with the same siting criteria and environmental characteristics are known to have existed, for example, in Ipswich, Newbury, and Beverly.

It was not until I was reconstructing local Native place names based on the Abenaki language that I came across stronger documentary evidence for a village at Riverview. I was looking for the derivations and meanings of Annisquam and Wonasquam and discovered their common source in Wenesquawam, which in reconstructed Abenaki would be written Wanaskwiwam, which means “End of the marsh.”  It’s an apt name. Geographically, Cape Ann is at the end of the Great Marsh that starts on the New Hampshire coast and stretches south along the Gulf of Maine.

Wenesquawam is attested in a pre-1603 document known as the Edgerton Manuscript, discovered in the archives of King Charles II in the British Library in London. The title of the document, probably a result of data gathering for James I or possibly even Queen Elizabeth before him, is Ye Names of Ye Rivers and Ye Sagamores Yt Inhabit Upon Them. It gives the Native names of all the rivers between the Penobscot and the Annisquam, noting that the river names are synonymous with the names of the principal villages found on them. The explorer, whoever he was, identified the Annisquam River and its village as Wenesquawam. (He missed the Merrimac, Parker, and Rowley rivers, probably because their mouths are concealed by the barrier beaches of Plum Island.)

So there really was an Indian village in Riverview north of Pole Hill! The people were gathering shellfish there and growing corn in Riverdale and burying their dead in Annisquam. And when John Endicott had surveys done to lay out the first house lots in Gloster Plantation, he referred to “the hoed land”—the land the Native Americans at Wanaskwiwam had already prepared for cultivation.

Annisquam                                                                         William Lamb Picknell (1854-1897)

Now I had three new questions to try to solve. First, where did the people at Wanaskwiwam observe the sky and reckon ceremonial time? According to ethnographic accounts from the late 17th century to early 20th century, large Native villages in New England always had one or more nearby sites that served as astronomical observatories. Skywatching is a universal cultural feature among the first peoples of the Americas. Second, what happened to the people at Wanaskwiwam? Where did they go? And third, why ever didn’t we know about them and their village in Riverview?

PS:

  1. Pole Hill.
  2. After a generation, they left under duress and became part of the Pennacook diaspora to northern New England and Canada, where they have living descendants today.
  3. The politics of the archives, in which state-sponsored genocide was concealed by erasing public memory of its victims.

 

Mary Ellen Lepionka lives in East Gloucester and is studying the history of Cape Ann from the Ice Age to around 1700 A.D. for a book on the subject. She is a retired publisher, author, editor, textbook developer, and college instructor with degrees in anthropology. She studied at Boston University and the University of British Columbia and has performed archaeology in Ipswich, MA, Botswana, Africa, and at Pole Hill in Gloucester, MA.  Mary Ellen is a trustee of the Massachusetts Archaeological Society, serves on the Gloucester Historical Commission, and volunteers for Friends of Dogtown, Annisquam Historical Society, and Maud/Olson Library.

Anna Hyatt Huntington in Annisquam

Portrait of Anna Hyatt Huntington. 1915                            Marion Boyd Allen (1862-1941)

Cape Ann figured prominently in the life of Anna Hyatt Huntington (1876- 1973), the highly regarded 19th and 20th-century sculptor. From the studio on the family property, “Seven Acres,” on the Annisquam River, she and her older sister, Harriet kindled their love of natural life.  Anna, especially, developed an abiding passion for creating figures that represent fauna, flora and marine life.

Anna cherished her weeks and months in Annisquam. Her family honored the legacy handed to them when, in 1878, they took possession of the Norwood house (c. 1666).

As Anna’s sister Harriet (Harriet Hyatt Mayor] put it in a letter to a friend, “Each year, my thoughts take early flight to Cape Ann, and rest there awaiting my bodily transportation….It was the same with my mother [“Beebe” Hyatt]; from Christmas on, she was restless and did not regain tranquility until she crossed the threshold;…

“This feeling of attraction reaches down to mother’s great grand children…[they are] devoted to Squam and in particular “Seven Acres,” and are never as happy as there.”

“I am convinced the Norwoods’ fine courageous lives left something in the house, a spiritual incandescence to beckon the living under the shelter of its rafters.”

Moving seasonally from Cambridge to their home on the spit of land where the River meets Goose Cove, the two young ladies experimented with clay, paint, and metal to their heart’s content. Anna’s studies focused on animals. She was following in the footsteps of her father, an eminent paleontologist, while simultaneously making her own unique imprint. Professor Alpheus Hyatt heartily indulged his love of animals, sea life, and collecting sea specimen while at “Seven Acres.” He founded the first marine laboratory in the United States, on the site of this “home away from home.”  Once established, the laboratory moved to Cape Cod.  Today we know it as the Woods Hole Marine Laboratory.

Anna’s first public-scale creation, a rendering of Joan of Arc mounted nobly atop a massive mount, graces the square by Gloucester’s Captain Lester S. Wass American Legion Post 3, where Washington and Middle Streets meet.  Gloucester Daily Times reporter Ruth Pappas wrote on April 13, 1962, “The idea for Joan of Arc developed in Annisquam in 1908.” She said Anna used Gloucester’s fire horses as models.  This was how she conceived a likeness of a “sturdy” horse.

Joan of Arc ended up paying tribute to the men and women who fought in WWI. At the formal unveiling in 1920, WWI soldiers and sailors and Cape Ann citizens gathered in remembrance of the Great War. The ceremony also marked the day the “Legion,” whose ranks included hundreds of Great War veterans, took possession of the grand, Greek Revival building, Gloucester’s first Town Hall. Gloucester’s “Joan” is one of several studies of France’s beatified heroine. All stand in prominent places. France awarded Huntington the Legion of Honor for its “Joan of Arc.” Anna was on hand to personally dedicate the Blois, France sculpture.

Legion Square, 300th Anniversary celebration, 1923.  photo: unknonwn.

Legion Square, 300th Anniversary celebration, 1923.                    Photo Source: Cape Ann Museum.

From Joan of Arc onwards, well into her mid-nineties, Anna continued to conceive and build her monumental animal representations. Her adult life and fame took her far from Annisquam, though she continued to have her own home here for many years.  She married Archer M. Huntington, a prominent art collector, in 1923. The couple lived in New York City and established a retreat in Redding, Connecticut, rather than on Cape Ann. Still, Annisquam stayed in Anna’s heart.  In 1971 she presented two sculptures to the Annisquam Art Gallery.  Both are animal studies. The caricature of a horse is called “Portrait of a Friend” and the other “Six Monkeys.” (see below).  They are cast in metal from the original sculptures. Today they reside in the gallery above the Exchange.

Over an extremely long and uncompromisingly dedicated life, Anna received literally thousands of awards and accolades. In addition to the Chevalier of the Legion of Honor, France honored the animalier with the Purple Rosette. Spain gave her the Grand Cross of Alfonso the XII and the American Academy of Arts and Letters awarded her with its Gold Medal.  And, her powerfully evocative works figure prominently in hundreds of museums and galleries around the world.  She was one of the 20th century’s singularly most accomplished women.

Anna Hyatt Huntington        August 1970

Anna Hyatt Huntington                            August 1970

In 1912, twelve women earned over $50,000; Anna was among them. And, Anna got her start in Massachusetts, bolstered and nourished by summers on Cape Ann. We too have been handed a legacy to honor.

 

Holly Clay is settled in Gloucester after many years of living overseas and in Washington, D.C. Holly is a member of the Gloucester Historical Commission and the Annisquam Historical Society.  With a background in education and writing, her professional energies are currently devoted to studying and teaching yoga and meditation.

 

TRAINS, BUSES AND SUMMER ON CAPE ANN

Children on the Beach. Edward Henry Potthast (1857-1927)

Children on the Beach.                                Edward Henry Potthast (1857-1927)

The Boston and Maine trains played an integral role in my summer vacations in Gloucester.  Now after reading the pieces written by Peter Anastas and Eric Schoonover I wondered if Enduring Gloucester’s readers could stand one more train story!  I hesitated then decided to take a chance. Trains seem to have played a memorable role in the lives of my generation.

1Pru - Train Depot

Each summer my mother and I would take the train from my small hometown in central Massachusetts to rendezvous in Boston at North Station with “Auntie” with whom I would spend my long awaited summer vacation days in Lanesville and Folly Cove.

While in Boston we shopped at Jordan Marsh and Filene’s for a new bathing suit for me and a new dress and shoes for the first day of school in September.  Then if I was lucky enough we might visit to Jack’s Joke Shop before riding the subway back to North Station and the Rockport line at Track 2. There I would say good-by to Mother and board the train to Gloucester with Auntie. In the early years engines were formidable, behemoth locomotives belching clouds of black smoke, later replaced by streamlined diesels.

2Pru - Train

My happy anticipation grew as we left the cities of Boston and Lynn behind and approached the Salem station.  At that point in our journey the lights were turned on in the passenger cars.  I knew what that meant. We were about to enter the tunnel.  How exciting that was to a four or five year old!

That event was followed by a sharp change in scenery.  After leaving the Beverly station there were glimpses of big houses, and blue ocean water.  And what was that funny sounding station…Montserrat? That stop was followed by Beverly Farms and Pride’s Crossing; then Manchester with sail boats in the harbor.

After passing the Lily Pond and the West Gloucester station, none too soon for me, the conductor would call out, “Gloucester, Gloucester.”

As we alighted from the train the familiar sights, sounds and smells left no doubt that we were really in Gloucester. Auntie and I then proceeded out to Washington Street to wait for the bus with me sitting on my suitcase in front of the Depot Café to wait for those big orange busses of the Gloucester Autobus Co.  We must watch for the bus that said “Lanesville, Folly Cove.”  That was very important. 3Pru - Orange bus Heaven forbid that we get on the wrong bus!

While impatiently waiting on the sidewalk I stared at the big house on the corner of Commonwealth Avenue and thought it was quite wonderful.  It was almost new then.  It is still wonderful but, like me, showing its age.

The landscape soon became more and more familiar.  As the bus made its way along Washington Street Auntie, always a teacher, pointed out the old Ellery house and, on the opposite side of the road, the big yellow Babson house.  The construction of the rotary, Route 128 and the A. Piatt Andrew Bridge were still a distant idea.  Little did I know that these historical landmarks pointed out to me as a child would be so important to me as an avid preservationist many decades later.

Way down the road we traveled under the Riverdale Willows, saw the abandoned Hodgkins Tide Mill and crossed the causeway to Annisquam.  After a few more miles we passed the Consolidated Lobster Company at Hodgkins Cove. I was told with a slight tone of disapproval that their lobsters came from Nova Scotia and not as good as our Ipswich Bay lobsters.  Our lobsters would come from George Morey at Lanes Cove.

Shortly thereafter we went down one last hill and there was Plum Cove and the sandy beach!  Oh happy day! We’re almost there.

After stops in Lanesville the big orange bus traveled down Langsford Street until it approached Butman Avenue and Ranta’s Market.  It was extremely important to pull the overhead cord at just the right moment to tell the driver we wanted to get off, not too soon and not too late.

From there it was a short walk with Auntie dragging my suitcase (without wheels of course) up Butman Avenue to Washington Street after which it was downhill to Auntie’s house. The magic of my summer vacations was about to begin.

Every day was filled with fun at Plum Cove or Folly Cove.  Cloudy days were fun, too, with hikes through the woods on the Rockport Path to the Paper House in Pigeon Cove, picking blueberries, walking to Dogtown or a bus trip to Rocky Neck.  On Rocky Neck there was a wonderful shop that I loved called the La Petite Gallery.  Other trips to Bearskin Neck or shopping in downtown Gloucester filled the long summer days.  One trip to downtown each summer always included a stop at Gloucester’s vast City Hall so Auntie could pay her taxes.

It was with great sadness that at the end of August the trip by bus and train was reversed.  I huddled by the window hiding my face so no one would see my tears.  Next summer was such a long way off.

Every detail is forever burned in my brain.  Little did I know that Gloucester would become my permanent residence and that I would be living in Auntie’s house or that my children and grandchildren would also know the magic of summer in Lanesville.

Little did I know that in the warmer months I would be standing in the now so- called 1710 White-Ellery house, no longer across the road from the old yellow Babson house.  The ancient house is now located behind the Babson house and here is where once a month  in the summer I tell  visitors about the construction of the house and explain to them how it was moved across the road in 1947 to save it from demolition as Route 128 became a reality..

And that is where I was on the first Saturday in June as another summer on Cape Ann begins.

 

Prudence Fish

Prudence Fish, of Lanesville, is a published author and expert on antique New England houses. Read Prudence Fish’s blog, Antique Houses of Gloucester and Beyond.

Village Facing the Sea

Anne Babson Carter

Dunes at Annisquam. 1916 John French Sloan

Dunes at Annisquam. 1916
John French Sloan

Bing1 (2)bing2 (2)

September 14, 1991/For K.D. and T.B

 

Anne Babson Carter is the author of an award-winning collection of poems, Strike Root, published by Four Way Books.  Her poems have appeared in The Nation, The Paris Review, Theology Today, The Christian Century, Borderlands Review, among others.  A founding member of the Guilford Poets Guild in Guilford, CT, Carter has twice been a fellow of the Yaddo Corporation.  She lives and works on Cape Ann, Massaschusetts