The Drew Archives is very fortunate to house the large Bradford Family Collection – a collection that, I may have mentioned once or twice before, contains thousands of items and spans over two hundred years. A goodly portion of this collection relates to the Civil War – a number of the family fought or were involved in some way, including, of course, the army nurse and diarist, Charlotte Bradford. The collection also contains letters from another key Civil War figure – Frederick Newman Knapp, the Special Relief administrator for the USSC in Washington, DC. Knapp was not only Charlotte’s boss while she was a Transport Ship nurse and the matron of the Sanitary Commission’s Home for Soldiers, he was also her niece’s husband. We are lucky to have his papers here, especially those that directly relate to his work in the USSC.
The following is a letter by Knapp in Frederick City, MD to his parents in Walpole, NH, written almost two weeks after the Battle of Gettysburg. Knapp was in charge of seeing supplies made their way to the battlefield and ensuring that the army had what it need to care for the wounded. It is remarkable in its detail as Knapp recounts the confusion in orchestrating such a large-scale relief effort. For any scholar of the Sanitary Commission, this letter sheds light on a little discussed aspect of the USSC’s overall operations and certainly brings to life one of its most faithful servants. As the transcriber of this letter, however, I have to say that Knapp’s writing is challenging. He has perhaps the worst penmanship of any of the 19th century figures in the Drew Archives. He was an educator for most of his life but obviously was not concerned with having a “good hand.” If you would like to know more about his life, a recent article in Historical Digressions gives a nice overview.
Frederick City, July 16, 1863
Dear Father and Mother,
All well. This has been a busy week with me or a busy ten days. Nothing like it since the York River work when we had to fit out Hospital Transports at a days notice. The work has been to get supplies of all sorts with least possible delay to Gettysburg, all then to Frederick: at Gettysburg to meet terrible needs: at Frederick to be prepared for what might be even greater needs in case of a battle which might come off at any moment at Hagerstown or in the region of which Frederick would be the safe base of supply. In getting stores and Relief Agents to Gettysburg we had to meet the difficulty of getting a blocked Rail Road – single track with cars by hundreds loaded with wounded in the one direction and supplies for 20,000 men in the other – so that we not merely had to meet immediate needs but keep a supply, if possible, of two days ahead. The result has been most gratifying & successful, and repaid all labor two hundred fold. “Special Orders” & special messengers and teams by turnpike – and supercargoes and constant personal presence at points of shipping goods have secured results which I felt at first could not be made. Not a train left Baltimore for Gettysburg for some days that did not take from 25 to 300 cars of our supplies – estimate only by tons – a number of entire carloads direct from Philadelphia or Boston transferred from Phila Road to the Northern Central Road (thence by branch road to Gettysburg) but most of the supplies carted from across Baltimore to Central R.R. Depot – 100 or 200 tons at a time. Then beside the general supplies there were the answering the requirements of Special demands by telegram & letter from Dr. Douglas at Gettysburg – such as “send me 1000 loaves of bread – 40 barrels fresh crackers – ten relief agents, six carpenters, six cooks – 100 yds oil silk –and entire outfit for first class Relief Station – including tents, stoves, supplies, etc. – all by first train up from Baltimore if possible.” We have every day for a week sent to Gettysburg (and one time 2 loads daily) an “arctic car” load of fresh supplies ½ ton each of poultry, mutton, butter, fresh vegetables, etc, etc. Some days two (2) car loads – until at last a telegram from Gettysburg cried “hold, enough” (except the arctic supplies). Meantime horses and wagons & saddle horses & harnesses, etc. etc. had to be selected & bought & drivers & wagon-masters selected and bought and started off (in last week I bought & fitted out the nine wagons & 18 wagon horses & five saddle horses). Then came the necessity to send goods to Frederick in anticipation of a great battle in this region – Mr. Olmsted went to Frederick and immediately telegraphed “push on supplies with all possible dispatch by every means in your possession.” So new telegrams to Philadelphia & N. York & Boston had to be sent telling what we wanted via one car load a day for each place besides express loads. These supplies arriving had to be carted over to the Frederick Station, loaded – disentangled from [?] stores and got through – all the material for first class Relief Station including tents, etc. etc. cooks & men got & sent – with wagons & horses, etc. Meantime bills had to be paid and all the agents at work kept straight…Since Monday week we have received there at Baltimore between 80 & 90 telegrams all to be attended to and I have made purchases of horses, wagons & supplies in sums from one dollar to 500 amounting in total to $18,000 – and kept it all straight. So you can see why I haven’t written you any long letters – and though it has involved so much work I can assure you I have enjoyed it greatly and was never better in my life…Josiah Bellows is recovering at the cars which bring the wounded from Gettysburg to Baltimore – a wagon & two [unreadable] & 3 or 4 others in each train to give the water & care for them. We also take all these cars at Baltimore and purge them & put fresh straw, etc. & water & ice & crackers, etc. This we do by special request of Major [unreadable] staff in charge of transporting the wounded. I bought fifty water coolers (for ice) in one day for the cars.
Must close – I have gone over this to show you the Comm are at work – the Relief they have given at Gettysburg is immense…
Your affectionate son, F.N. Knapp
In a town as old as Duxbury, there are many men and women who can claim a prominent place in its history. Founders such as John and Priscilla Alden; shipbuilders Ezra “King Caesar” Weston I and II; master mariner and author Amasa Delano; and stage actress Fanny Davenport, are only a few names that come to mind. However, all towns have their less heralded, though equally significant, citizens and Duxbury is no exception. Rev. John Allyn (pronounced Alline) falls into this second category. Rev. Allyn was the minister of the First Parish Church for 45 years, from 1788-1833. While the majority of his tenure was peaceful, Allyn was part of a controversy at the end of his career that divided the town and had repercussions for decades after his death. Recently the Drew Archival Library received a gift of over fifty of the Rev. Allyn’s sermons from his descendants, Faith Stimson and Emily Sugg. These sermons will help to illuminate the life of a man who was such an integral part of the community during the early 19th century.
Rev. Allyn was born in Barnstable, MA in 1767 and educated at Harvard College, earning his A.B. in 1785. He received his A.M. in 1788, the same year he was ordained as Duxbury’s minister. Three years later he married Abigail Bradford. The couple settled into a lovely home at 1043 Tremont Street, an easy stroll to the First Parish Church. The church to which Rev. Allyn would have walked was not the large Greek Revival structure we see today, but a smaller, squarer building painted a light yellow. This meeting house, built in 1785, only a few years before Allyn’s arrival, was more in keeping with the limited means of the post-Revolutionary Duxbury, a town that had yet to reach its shipbuilding zenith. In addition to his ministerial duties, Allyn ran a school from his home.
The contemporary accounts we have all indicate that Rev. Allyn was kind and a bit eccentric. It is not hard to imagine him as the disheveled benevolent scholar. According to his son-in-law, Rev. Convers Francis, Allyn possessed a peculiar imagination and often avoided the “beaten track of thought.” During conversation he loved to “throw his thoughts out in a desultory and startling manner.” Unfortunately, this often led to him being misconstrued. He could also be rather unorthodox in his methods, once dressing as a ghost to scare a family, who had disavowed the existence God, back into believing. The pupils boarding at his school called him uncle and recalled many happy times in Duxbury under his tutelage. They received discipline only from his daughter, Abigail, never from Allyn himself. Perhaps the most famous of his students was a young Abigail May, the mother of Louisa May Alcott.
Despite years of faithful service, Rev. Allyn’s tenure as minister in Duxbury had a final, dark chapter. Allyn was afflicted with a premature ageing of both is his mind and body. I am sure a modern-day physician could find a diagnosis based on contemporary evidence, but for the sake of this article, it is enough to say that he found himself incapacitated during much of his later years. In 1825 Allyn asked that the congregation hire a co-minister to assist him in his duties. This would allow him to live out his waning years in the community he loved and continue to preach to his flock at least part of the time. However, it would also force the congregation to pay two salaries. Had his request come a decade earlier, perhaps there would have been no discussion on the matter but a number of changes had occurred that left the First Parish Church and the town divided over this request.
The Second Great Awakening that had been sweeping the country had caused some to leave the Unitarian pews of the First Parish Church for the newly formed Methodist and Universalist churches that had been built Washington Street. The number who left included some of wealthiest men in Duxbury at the time including Hon. Seth Sprague. This exodus coincided with disestablishment of the Churches of the Standing Order. Prior to the disestablishment everyone had to pay a tax to support the sanctioned town church whether you were a member or not. After the disestablishment, men like Sprague were no longer beholden to help fund the First Parish Church, resulting in a loss of revenue. With enough money to spare, a second minster may have incited little comment. A tighter budget, however, caused many within the church, including a young fledgling politician named Gershom Bradford Weston, to demand the resignation of Allyn and the hiring of a new full-time minister.
What came to pass is not a pretty commentary. Because Allyn was still so beloved by many the congregation, a co-minister, Rev. Benjamin Kent, was hired to assist him. Kent moved with his young family into a house built for them at 992 Tremont Street. But, for the next seven years both Kent and Allyn constantly battled with the faction within the First Parish Church that disagreed with supporting two salaries. Of the conflict, Sarah Bradford, who was related to Kent and therefore not unbiased, wrote to her daughter, “we are all in trouble, the Parish won’t pay two and we fear Mr. Kent will leave us, every one is for Mr. K but Dr. A won’t quit. I don’t know what we shall do…the Parish is in a sad state…” The fight took a toll on both ministers. By 1833 Kent had been carted off to an insane asylum and Allyn was dead. Years later, during another controversy within the First Parish Church, Kent wrote a letter from his Roxbury home declaring that Gershom Bradford Weston was the cause of his temporary insanity and Allyn’s death.
Rev. Allyn was buried in the tomb of another prominent Duxbury leader, Hon. George Partridge. Hiswife and daughter were forced to sell their home and move from town. In 1861 those who recalled him fondly raised a monument to their former minister and teacher in the Mayflower Cemetery which reads:
To the Memory of John Allyn, D.D.
Who was for 45 years the learned
able, and honored minister of the
Congregational Society in
Duxbury. Born at Barnstable Mass
March 21, 1767 Died at Duxbury
July 19, 1833
In a succeeding generation some
of those who in early life shared
his kindness, profited by his
counsels and were impressed by
his truthfulness testify their
gratitude and reverence by this
 Convers Francis, Memoir of Rev. John Allyn of Duxbury. See also, Justin Winsor, History of Duxbury (Crosby & Nichols: Boston, MA), 1849 p. 209
 “A Ghostly Visit” in Duxbury Budget (Duxbury Rural Society: Duxubry, MA), 1900, p. 20.
 Edmund Burke Willson, Memorial of John Clarke Lee (Salem Press; Salem, MA) 1879, p. 10 and Eve LaPlante, Marmee & Louisa: The Untold Story of Louisa May Alcott and Her Mother (Free Press: New York), 2012, p. 26.
 Massachusetts broke the ties between church and state with the disestablishment of the Standing Order in 1833. However, individual parishes ended the relationship earlier, Duxbury did so in 1828.
 Letter from Sarah Bradford to Maria W. Bradford, April 21 , Bradford Family Collection, Drew Archival Library. Maria W. Bradford’s husband, Claudius Bradford, was Benjamin Kent’s brother-in-law.
 Letter from Sarah Bradford to Lucia A. Bradford, May 5, 1833 in Bradford Family Collection, Drew Archival Library, “Mr. Kent has been in the insane hospital now nine days, his insanity came on by degrees until one day before he was carried to the hospital when he was perfectly crazy.”
 Letter from Benjamin Kent in Reply of a Committee of the First Parish in Duxbury, Massachusetts to the Public Answer of Hon. Gershom Weston, (Boston: C.C.P. Moody), 1851, p. 41. Kent also contended that there was no shortage of funds during his ministry to pay two salaries.
Many of you are no doubt are familiar with the Landing of the French Atlantic Cable in Duxbury in 1869, but for those of you who have never heard the tale, gather ‘round…
Once upon a time, before smart phones and email, before telecommunications, before even Marconi’s wireless, there was only one way to communicate immediately to those far, far away – cable telegraph lines. You may not be surprised to learn that Samuel Morse, of “Morse Code” fame developed and patented the first electric telegraph machine in the US in 1837. But, interestingly, the code for transmitting messages could just have easily been called the “Vail Code” since Morse’s assistant, Alfred Vail, was responsible for it, but such is life when you’re not the boss. By 1861 almost every point in the United States, from California to New York, was connected via wire. So long Pony Express, hello telegram.
As amazing as connecting the vast North American continent by wire was, there was still a more daunting feat to be accomplished, a transatlantic cable. With a Victorian can-do attitude and an initial $1.5 million in capital, businessman Cyrus F. Field, along a group of backers, set out to make the world a bit smaller. It took five attempts and over ten years before the ship, Great Eastern (read more about the ship), successfully laid a 2,000 mile-long cable across the ocean floor from Ireland, bringing it ashore in Newfoundland in 1866.
Once Great Britain and North America were connected, the French sought to have their own exclusive means of transatlantic communication. As with the Anglo line, the French Atlantic Telegraphic Company used the now tried and true Great Eastern. The French cable was approximately 3,500 miles long – beginning in Brest, France it would travel to the “southern edge of the ‘Grand Banks’; thence to the French island of St. Pierre off the south coast of Newfoundland and thence down past Cape Breton Island and Nova Scotia to Duxbury.” On June 21, 1869 the Great Eastern, accompanied by the ships Chiltern and Scanderia set out on their voyage. Just over a month later, on July 23, 1869 the cable was landed on Duxbury Beach at Rouse’s Hummock.
It was a time of great celebration in Duxbury. A tent was erected on Abrams Hill with a view of the Hummock. Six hundred guests, including dignitaries from around the state, nation and world converged to wine, dine, listen to speeches and most importantly, to see first hand the wonder of sending and receiving messages from across the sea. Included in the festivities were Mayor N. B. Shurtleff of Boston and President of the Massachusetts Sentate, George O. Brastow. Cannons of the Second Massachusetts Light Battery were fired, streamers and flags flew and for a moment the eyes of the world were on this sleepy seaside town.
The eventual terminus for the cable was the former Duxbury Bank building on the corner of Washington and St. George Streets. As you can imagine, the early years of the cable office were quite busy and required trained operators, many of whom, like Englishmen Robert Needham and George Green, immigrated to Duxbury along with the cable. Later, Canadian William Facey, the amateur photographer responsible for one of our most-used photo collections, came to work here. These men became some of Duxbury’s most civic-minded residents. After a few years the French Atlantic Cable Company was brought under the fold of the Anglo-American Telegraph Company and later, in 1911, became Western Union. Over the years other transatlantic cables took away Duxbury’s prominence and business waned. Duxbury’s cable house closed after WWII.
Today the stately home on the Blue Fish River that once housed the cable office is a private residence. It is still alternately called the “Bank Building” or the “Cable Office” by folks in town…okay, that’s probably not true, it’s called that by a handful of people, including me, but nobody knows what I’m talking about when I say it. Now you do.
If you would like to learn more about the French Atlantic Cable, you can visit the Drew Archives and view the Robert Needham Collection (DAL.MSS.043), the French Atlantic Cable Collection (DAL.MSS.044), read telegrapher George Green’s own copy of Landing of French Atlantic Cable with his notes, or see the images in the William Facey Collection online at http://www.flickr.com/photos/drewarchives/sets/72157626060922690/
 Franklin K. Hoyt, The French Atlantic Cable 1869, Duxbury Rural & Historical Society, 1982. p. 8
 The Landing of the French Atlantic Cable, Boston, Alfred Mudge & Son, 1869.
Myles Standish was known to have a hot temper but it was not until 1922 that he truly lost his head. Shortly after noon on a sultry August day an electrical storm caused lightning to strike the 116-foot monument dedicated to the former military leader of the Pilgrims. The bolt from the sky caused Myles’ head and arm to topple to the ground.
There was no great push to replace his missing granite anatomy so Myles stood headless over Duxbury for four long years. In 1926, a new head was created by Boston sculptor John Horrigan. Unfortunately the old lightening damaged legs could not support their new addition so back to the quarry it went, along with an order for stronger lower limbs. Finally, in 1930, an almost completely remade Myles Standish was placed back atop his perch (his outstretched arm and possibly torso are the only remaining parts of the original statue).
While the damage to its statue was catastrophic, the beheading of Myles Standish was only one in a series of misfortunes suffered by the Monument – and some would say it continues to suffer. The Monument was conceived not by a Duxbury resident but rather by J. Henry Stickney of Baltimore, an admirer of Capt. Standish. The land atop Captain’s Hill, formerly owned by Standish, was deemed the most appropriate spot to place a memorial. Architect Alden Frink’s design called for a 100′ monument topped with a 14′ statue (with two feet between the parapet and the statue, making it 116′ total). Garnering support and enough money to begin the project, the cornerstone was laid on October 7, 1872, with much fanfare and even Masonic ceremonies, in front of 10,000 onlookers. But, after an expenditure of $27,000 the monument was still only 72 feet high. Interest and money waned and it stood half complete until a second wave of donors saw the monument finished in 1898. When you look at the two shades of granite, you can tell exactly where construction originally halted.
By 1920 the Monument and statue were in disrepair. Dr. Horton, the President of the Standish Monument Association, sought $10,000 from the State for repairs and landscaping. According to Thomas Weston’s autobiography, the State could offer no assistance unless it acquired the monument. After persuading the Association deed the land over, a bill was signed by Gov. Calvin Coolidge, allowing for Massachusetts to become its owner and caretaker.  Thus, when Myles lost his head, the State got the bill.
Today the State still gets the bill, but with so many other pressing responsibilities, the upkeep and opening of the Myles Standish Monument has become a bit overlooked. Despite this, however, Myles, with his reconstructed head and body, still stands tall.
 “Bolt Beheads Myles Standish Statue on Duxbury Shore,” Boston Sunday Globe, August 27, 1922. This date has been misreported over the years as 1903, 1920 and 1924. However the actual storm hit on August 26, 1922, two years after the State of Massachusetts took control of the monument from the town.
 S. J. Kelly of Boston designed the original statue. It was sculpted by Stephano Brignoli and Luigi Limonetta of Bayeno, Italy using granite from Maine. The Monument was designed by architect Alden Frink.
 The lower legs were left at Horrigan Granite Co. in Quincy and later ended up in Halifax.
 Excerpt from the autobiography of Thomas Weston in Don H. Ross, “The Mystery of Captain Myles Standish’s Legs”, 2001, p. 12.
In 1856 seventeen-year-old Ardelia E.Ripley (1839-1899), the daughter of Samuel E. Ripley and Sarah Cushman, was a student at Partridge Academy in Duxbury. Her Common School Book-Keeping Being a Practical System by Single Entry; Designed for the use of Public Schools by Charles Northend (1853) can be found at the Drew Archives. It is a wonderful example of how students learned the art of basic accounting. While we have numerous day-books and journals used by adults of the period, it is unusual to see one that demonstrates the learning process. Practice books are often thrown away long before they make it into an archival collection.
What I find fascinating about the book is what it tells us about society in the 1850’s. Here, in neat script, is a full listing of all the items a person might consider purchasing along with their cost. Duxbury was no longer the prosperous shipbuilding mecca it had once been, but that did not mean its inhabitants didn’t still pine for kid gloves and cashmere. Using her classmates and relations as fictitious “customers” Ardelia itemized a veritable Ante-bellum wish-list. Classmate Frederick Bryant, for example, lavishly spent $6.00 on “1 pair of pantaloons for my hired man” but also more sensibly required coarse salt at 1 ¾ per pound, and even a “white wash brush” for $.63. Girlfriends like Josephine Thomas bought “muslin de laine ($.31 per yard), 2 skeins of silk ($.08).” Ardelia’s young cousin, Walter F. Cushman, required a “silk handkerchief ($.50) and a cravat ($1.50).” Older family acquaintances also made it into her accounts, Capt. George P. Richardson was a regular customer, buying “kid gloves ($.75), 29 yards of carpeting ($21.00), a satin vest ($3.25), 1 yard cambric ($.10) and ½ dozen buttons ($.03)” all in one day. In total Ardelia kept her account book for four months, had eleven customers and over 150 entries with hundreds of line-items. While I have not vetted the prices she ascribed to them, the items themselves are a boon to any researcher interested in knowing what was available to purchase in America at that time.
Almost equally as fascinating to me are the people Ardelia Ripley chose to include in her assignment and how they fit into Duxbury history. For example, friend Joseph E. Simmons, who’s name is one of the most prominent in the accounts, would one day die in the Civil War at the Second Battle of Bull Run (see the Duxbury in the Civil War article). Captains George P. Richardson and Daniel L. Winsor were prominent civic leaders. Walter F. Cushman grew up to marry Ardelia’s daughter, Lucie. In 1860, Ardelia herself would marry the keeper of the Gurnet Light House, George H. Hall, and have six children. Her son, Captain Parker J. Hall, was one of the most colorful people to ever live in Duxbury (more on him in a future post).
 The home of Samuel E. and Sarah Ripley was described in a 1925 The House Beautiful article entitled “The Little Gray House with the Pale-Green Door: One of the Aristocrats of the Cape Cod House.” Ardelia inherited this house and passed it on to her youngest daughter, Lura Cushman Hall.
I had fully intended to share a love poem or letter today from one of our collections in honor of Valentine’s Day. But what I found instead was simply too good to pass up. In 1829, when he was just 21 years old, Lloyd Granville Sampson (1808-1838) penned an essay and poem about the joys of being a bachelor. He obviously could not see 3 years into the future or he would have known he would be leaving the “state of single blessedness” by marrying the lovely Mary Winsor. I wonder if she had any inkling of his views on marriage?
Based on Sampson’s other writing we can assume the following is a bit tongue-in-cheek. He also seems to protest a bit too much, perhaps he was mending a broken heart. Whatever the reason, I hope you enjoy this very un-Valentine’s day post.
Written in behalf of the fraternity of Bachelors
Know all to whom these presents my come that I am a Bachelor, that I have lived long in a state of “single blessedness” and in that state I shall die. I know not how happy a matrimonial life may be, yet I know how peaceful is that of a Bachelor. The former may be pleasing, the latter is well known to me to be so. The double man may avoid many evils, the single man is sure to avoid one. In short I know of no life so well calculated for the comfort and care of man as a single one, when evening comes and the sun has quietly gone to rest, it is then the state of single blessedness is most dear to me. Then there is a comfort in running over past events long gone by, and a delight in anticipating the future. The Bachelor goes to his “round-a-bout” and takes his care, look at him as he sits with his head inclined upon his elbow puffing a friendly cigar, he has not a scolding wife no disobedient child no few cents for milk, no yelping brats to distract and perplex him, but goes to his bed a quietly as the sun faces the west. True it is the single man will have not long train to follow him to his “last home” no tears from a “better half” to wet the turf which covers his grave – yet for all this I am a Bachelor – the troubles of the double man will come upon him while the single man is at ease and without care. When the storm beat upon our casements and the winds whistle round our dwellings, then the troubles of the married man should be recollected. While the Bachelor sits peacefully by his fire “now and then” disturbing the burning embers with the friendly poker. The one may experience many anxious hours for a son at sea or for the indisposition of a child, the other is free from all these anxious hours and a deal of leisure to “patch stich [sic] and darn”
A single life the life for me,
How, dearly I do love it,
Free as the air I’ll live & die,
If I leave no heir behind me.
The man without a wife is blest
His life is one continued rest
Free from family, care & strife
He’s merry and happy without a wife