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ROXBURY AFTER THE REVOLUTION 1789- 1834

FROM THE RATIFICATION OF THE US CONSTITUTION UNTIL THE COMING OF THE RAILROAD.



Population in 1790 2,226

“ 1830 5,247

ANCHOR INSTITUTIONS

  • 5th meeting House/Roxbury First Church. 1804. Designed and built by housewright William Blaney based on the plan for the Newburyport Church said to be designed by Timothy Palmer.
  • First Town Hall. 1811. Built on Roxbury Street on land donated by Col, Joseph Dudley. Demolished in 1873 for construction of the Dudley School.
  • Peoples National Bank. Incorporated in 1834. Built on the site of John Eliot’s home at Washington and Dudley Street.
  • Norfolk Bank . Established on May 19,1826 Its offices were in Octagon Hall built by Capt Nathaniel Dorr at Kennilworth and Dudley Street. The bank failed due to mismanagement after 1834.
  • First Roxbury library opened in 1805 on the ground floor of a mercantile building on Roxbury street ( near the corner of Washington and Palmer St)


COMMUNICATION First Roxbury newspaper. The Norfolk Gazette 1824- 1827.



ECONOMY AND INDUSTRY.

  • 18 tanneries and slaughterhouses at Pierpont’s Village ( Roxbury Crossing) and at Town Landing on Parker Street. Also one chocolate mill and 2 grist mills ( including Pierpont’s 17th c mill).Chief economy was farm products and hides and skins for the manufacture of leather, shoes and gloves. In 1792 Ralph Smith had a factory at Town landing for the packing of provisions and the manufacturing of soap and candles.
  • Roxbury Canal. Ca 1795. Investors Thomas Williams and Aaron and Charles Davis had canal dug to link up with South Bay. They claimed it would save 2 1/5 miles of travel time from Roxbury to Boston to carry fuel, lumber, bark and tanned skins.
  • Line through the canal was the boundary between Boston and Roxbury.
Aaron Davis’s home was at the corner of Washington and Mall streets built by his father Capt Aaron Davis; Taken down in July, 1775 along with most other houses on Roxbury st at the Neck during the siege of Boston.  Moses Davis, brother of the captain , kept a house and store at Hog’s bridge ( Jackson square) where he kept the troops on Fort Hill fed and clothed during the siege
The head of the channel was the canal house owned by Charles and Aaron Davis, who were pork and beef dealers; packed provisions and operated a distillery and tannery  In 1878 their dock was the lumber yard of William Curtis, located at Albany and Massachusetts Avenue. Vestiges of the canal could be seen in 1950 a polluted channel behind Boston City Hospita.
  • 1828 Boston Belting Company founded by EW Chafee and John Haskins as the India Rubber Company. In 1844 Charles Goodyear invented the vulcanization process of rubber that he presented to Chafee. Boston Belting occupied an entire city block on Elmwood Street.







HOUSING

On April 1, 1809 former Secretary of War under President Jefferson General Henry Dearborn moved from Exeter ,New Hampshire and bought the Col Francis Brinley *mansion built in 1723 on the Road to Cambridge. (Originally part of George Alcock’s land of 237 acres granted in 1637.) Hq. of the right wing of the American Army under Gen Joshua Ward during the siege of Boston. It was confiscated by the Commonwealth as Tory property in 1779.

Mansion and land bought for Mission Church in 1869.

  • Portraits of Col & Mrs Brinley at the Shirley Eustis House.


  • August 1809 Governor William Eustis ( Secretary of War under President Madison after Gen Dearborn 1809 -1812. Gov. from 1823-1825) bought the Shirley mansion + 33 acres/ Entertained Marquis de Lafayette there on Aug24, 1824. Shirley mansion built in 1754-1746. First house on the site was built about 1730 by James Allen.
  • 1796 Perez Morton House Dudley street and Burgess St opposite Howard Avenue. Designed by Charles Bullfinch.
  • James Swan House Dudley Street and Howard Avenue. 1796 Designed by Charles Bullfinch. Both houses - shared w Dorchester history - razed in 1890.
Major –later Colonel Henry Jackson - was  a family friend of Mrs Swan; he was buried in the Swan family tomb on the property until Woodward Park was built through the estate in 1884.



EDUCATION

In 1834 the Trustees of the “Free School at Roxburie” voted to buy three lots from Dr. Brown on Vernon place next to the burying ground ( Kearsarge Ave) for new school house; removed from its original school house on Guild Row in 1834. New school wing added in 1853. Remained at this location until 1929.



GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS

  • Town meetings prohibited at Roxbury First Church by a vote of the congregation on Feb.11, 1805. Town Hall built on Dudley land at the rear of the church in 1811 ( Where did the town government meet from 1805- 1811?).
  • City Hal l1846- 1868
  • In honor of the ratification of the US Constitution in 1768,President Washington made a tour of the states and on Oct 24,1789 he entered Roxbury on his way to Boston with his secretary Major Henry Jackson (for whom Jackson Square was later named?) This was the first visit since he commanded troops there.
  • Roxbury Street was the sole thoroughfare through the town and all businesses were located on it. There were in this period three localities in Roxbury- Pierpont’s Village ( Roxbury Crossing), Canterbury ( Walk hill St and present day Forest Hills) and Spring Street ( Present day West Roxbury).


LAND USE

Subdivision of ancient farms beginning in the 1820’S and 1830’s.

  • October 15, 1825 five young Roxbury businessmen bought the "fort lot," a 28 acre parcel that included the site of the old High Fort (now Highland Park), from the heirs of Col. Joseph Williams. The group was made up of Supply Clap Thwing, Benjamin Franklin Copeland, Charles Hickling, and brothers David and Thomas Simmons. The five men subdivided the land and laid out Highland Street and Cedar Street. Thwing was in the mercantile trades, Copeland was a publisher, Hickling was also in the mercantile business, David Simmons was a lawyer and later a state senator, and Thomas Simmons was in the ship chandlery business.
  • House lots were platted on the Fort Lot soon after the purchase. One of the first house was the Alvah Kittredge mansion built in 1836 on land from the low fort, one of two forts bult on Fort Hill for the Siege of Boston. During construction, some of the old fort structure was removed and a 24-pound cannon ball fired by the British during the siege was recovered.
  • Ca 1843 MacCarty farm. Hawthorne to Walnut ; Cedar to Marcella. This comprised two estates originally owned by Edward Porter and Abraham Newall in 1634 & 1636. Total of 66 acres. Bought by Florence MacCarty in 1710, He was a dealer in provisions and his farm raised beef cattle Farmhouse was at Ellis and Hawthone st.
  • 1833 Thomas Williams’ farm 17th c grant to Robert Williams one of Roxbury’s first settlers.
  • 1833 Moses White farm. Originally the Giles Payson homestead, deacon of First Church. Sold to Moses White in 1767. He subdivided the land and called it Mt Pleasant in 1835. The first subdivision built up systematically with deed restrictions prohibiting any manufacturing or industrial use guaranteeing it would be a white collar middle class business mans commuter community. Built to capitalize on the new omnibus stage line and the railroad. Eustis Street –at the base of the subdivision- was renamed Dudley Street at the same time.
First home built  ca 1835 was at 36- 38 Forest St.
  • 1800. China trade merchant Thomas Kilby Jones buys the old Kent tavern at the Roxbury- Dorchester line on the Road the Plymouth, builds a large home next to it and calls his estate Grove Hall.
  • 1825 Group of Boston merchants – including SC Thwing and Benjamin F Copeland- bought 26 acres of land on Fort Hill including the old high fort to preserve the fortification and subdivide the rest into houselots. Copeland bought 5 acres at 140 Highland St in 1828 and built the earliest Greek revival house in Roxbury.


PUBLIC SAFETY
  • 1786 First fire engine house located on Roxbury Street opposite Vernon St on the site of the Greyhound Tavern.
  • Second engine house built in 1819 adjacent to the burying ground on the site of the hearse house. New fire house built in 1859 designed by architect John R Hall.





TRANSPORTATION.
  • Street west of Washington Street renamed Dudley Street in 1811; east of Washington Street renamed in 1825. In 1835 whole road from First Church to Dorchester line known as Dudley Street
  • 1895. Dedham Turnpike opened . Originally a cart path to MaCarty’s farm connecting Roxbury St to present day Cedar st
  • 1809 Brush Hill Turnpike Began at Warren Street in Grove Hall and continued on a straight line to the Neponset River through the Blue Hills and on to the southwest farming towns.
  • 1824 Roxbury Street paved and new brick sidewalks added. Distances to locales within the town are measured by how many miles or yards they are from “the pavement”. Roxbury Street also paved across the Neck to the old fortifications at Dover Street in cobblestone and brick.
  • 40 roads receiver names in 1825
  • Hourly omnibus stage begins at the Roxbury Town House over the Neck to the Old South Church.
Norfolk House built in 1827 as a stage hotel by the owner of the Norfolk Stage Line. Hotel rebuilt in 1853-1854 by the stage line owner.


  • 1832 Sept 10, Tremont Street opened from Pierpont’s Village over the flats to the Boston line at present day Northampton Street. This was the second major road opened from Roxbury to the capitol. This reduced traffic congestion on the neck causeway and increased the industrial development of the Village but was opposed by those merchants located on the neck who unnecessarily feared a loss of trade.




RELIGION.
  • 1817 Dudley Street Baptist Church formed. Land bought from Deacon Monroe
  • and first church building built in 1820. on site of present police station . First converts baptized in Stony Brook on May 15, 1821. New brick church built in 1853. 1820 church building bought by the Methodists who moved it to Warren and Cliff Streets. Destroyed by fire in 1868.
  • 1818 First Universalist Society formed at Washington and Roxbury Street.
  • 1835 Eliot Congregational Church Kennilworth St. Kennilworth Street built through Dudley lands in 1847 and named after the ancestral home of the Dudleys in England. Church building enlarged and spire added in 1853.


DEATH RITUALS
- 1818 Warren Cemetery on Mt Vernon Pl  (Later Kearsarge Ave) opened by the First Religious Society. 1 1/2 acres. Given to the Town of Roxbury in 1841. Essentially a secular burying ground, The First Religious Society was part of the Unitarian movement that in 1825 became the faith of Roxbury First Church; several New England Congregational churches moved into Unitarianism at that time   Roxbury Latin School built its new building adjacent to the cemetery in 1853.

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